From time to time, young people reach out to us to let us know the impact our programs had on their lives. We received the letter below recently and we were so moved by the story, we asked its author if we could share it with our supporters.
I am contacting Larkin Street Youth Services to inquire about volunteer opportunities. Not only am I impressed with the positive work done by the organization, I am a direct result of it.
During 2013, I was a homeless youth who was fortunate to find Larkin Street Youth Services. I had just moved to San Francisco from Denver, Colo., in order to get away from an abusive family life. I was immediately in shock not only by the surroundings, but at the astronomical cost of living. I was only able to afford to live in an inexpensive hotel for one month before I had nowhere to go.
For the next couple of months, I rented a storage unit to house my personal effects and stayed in various shelters at night. During this time, I worked a minimum wage full-time job. Contrary to popular belief, working and being homeless is not easy!
Being homeless is a full-time job in and of itself.
Most of the shelters require you to make reservations in advance. The process of making these reservations requires you to stand outside in line in the hopes that you receive a reservation. As you could imagine, this was a difficult task when I had to go to work.
It got to the point where I literally had to choose between keeping my job and having a place to sleep at night. Luckily I found Larkin Street. Larkin Street allowed me to continue to work and save money. My case manager helped me come up with manageable goals that set me up for success. Once I reached the maximum amount of months in the Lark-Inn shelter, I was referred to Castro Youth Housing Initiative, a transitional housing program.
During this time and without the burden of being homeless, I was able to excel in the workplace.
I received two promotions which more than doubled my salary! This allowed me to save money and by the time I aged out of the program, I was able to afford a place to live and maintain a sustainable life. I now work in the design department of a clothing company. I enjoy traveling and last month I went to Europe. I am going back to school to pursue a degree in my field. My goal is to live abroad and work in fashion. It is not lost on me that without Larkin Street Youth Services none of these blessings would be possible. I am forever indebted to you.
Identifying details have been removed and this content was edited lightly for length and clarity.
Want to help young people like the one you just read about? Learn more about getting involved with Larkin Street.