When “Robert” graduated from Second Story for Homeless Youth he felt grateful for the counseling, guidance and help finding a stable place to live. But something stood out even more: he was grateful to know that Second Story staff believed in him, something he hadn’t felt before from the people in his life.
Robert’s mother struggled with mental health issues and abused Robert emotionally for years while he lived in her home. He heard the same negative, defeating messages from her again and again, and he believed them. He felt worthless. He didn’t believe that he could graduate high school. He didn’t believe any of his goals were in reach.
When Robert turned 18 his mom kicked him out of his home. He was scared and confused, not sure where to go. He didn’t believe he could provide for himself. Though he wasn’t living with her anymore, the lies Robert’s mom told him about himself still echoed in his brain.
Robert went to his school counselor and told him what had happened. The school counselor told Robert the school could help connect him with a safe place to live, and put Robert in touch with Second Story for Homeless Youth right away.
Robert moved into a safe and stable place and got connected with Second Story staff. They began telling him different messages than he’d heard before: “You can graduate. You can set goals and make a planfor how to achieve them. You can do it, but you don’t have to on your own. We’re here to help you.”
While in Second Story for Homeless Youth, Robert graduated high school, began working full time, and finished his first semester of post-secondary education! When it was time to graduate, Second Story staff introduced Robert to a landlord who had housed young people from Second Story in the past. Robert and the landlord met and got along very well. Robert moved into his new home and officially graduated from Second Story for Homeless Youth. When he left he thanked Second Story staff not only for helping him but also for always believing in him.
With Second Story’s help Robert was able to graduate and move toward a self-sufficient future, but he also learned another thing of great importance: that he is valued and that he can write his own second story.
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. By supporting young people and their families, Second Story is working to create a community where no young person endures abuse.