From time to time, Larkin Street alumni reach out to us to let us know the impact our programs had on their lives. Mira, who used our services in the late ’80s, got in touch with us through Instagram recently and told us a bit about how and why she found Larkin Street, and what she’s up to now:

I found myself on the streets of San Francisco, homeless, at age 15.

My father, who had been working in the U.S., went to prison for smuggling drugs internationally. I lived with my mother and my siblings in Thailand until his imprisonment prompted us to come to the U.S. After living in Thailand for so many years, my mom didn’t really want to stay here, so she left my sister and me with our uncle in Los Angeles. We were in what I thought was a stable situation until my dad asked us to move to San Francisco to help out his new wife with their baby.

Things got tough from there as my dad’s wife was not in a good mindset. She didn’t have any money and with the new baby, there wasn’t room for us. Leaving seemed like a better option, so I did.

I stayed with different friends but ultimately lived on the streets, as part of a community of homeless kids. For a while, we lived in an abandoned building or slept in the park.

Then I found out about Larkin Street through some of the young people I met on the streets.

Larkin Street helped me write a resumé and search for jobs. I also stayed in a Larkin Street apartment building for a few months, which gave me a safe place to sleep and to save up enough money to move out of state, where I had a friend I could stay with.

I moved to Ohio after I had my first baby. There, I met my husband and started a small business selling stuff for mothers and babies. It was hard at first because I had a lot of little kids in the house, but this was what I wanted to do since I was young. Today, I own a full-fledged eco-clothing company.

My heart goes out to young people experiencing homelessness because I know most of those kids are from homes that are totally messed up or are from abusive situations. Even though my parents ultimately weren’t able to be there for me for my teen years, I had a really strong love for them. They helped me create this sense that I deserved something or that I could be something.

If I could talk to young people who had parents basically instill in them that they’re not lovable, that they’re not worth anything, I would tell them to find their inner child and love the sh*t out of them at all times because that kid is still a part of you. As an adult, it’s up to you to give it to yourself. Do the things for yourself that you needed your parents to do for you.

I want to encourage young people to cultivate self-love and to try to put themselves in environments where people are supportive to them, surround themselves with people who can see the good in them, and who would help them grow their self-worth.

We want to thank Mira for her time and for sharing her story with us. Check out her clothing company, Sweet Skins.

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