Many youth experiencing homelessness have been forced to leave home because of physical or sexual abuse and are struggling with substance abuse and/or mental illness. Many have been primarily responsible for their own care for years, struggling to survive, often in dangerous and self-destructive ways. The Teen Center, along with multiple other United Way of Greater Portland supported agencies, are working to address these needs to so that all individuals and families have the resources and opportunities to achieve optimal health status.
This is Cheryl. She works with youth struggling with homelessness. Many have fallen through the cracks or haven’t always trusted the systems that they’ve been connected with, so building a trusting relationship with an adult takes time and it requires collaboration.
Every day new people show up at a local Teen Center. We eat with them. We talk with them. We get to know them so that she can connect them with the resources they need.
Not everyone is fortunate enough to have had supportive parents or be financial stable. So our goal is to meet youth where they are and wrap the services around them. We identify their needs and connect them with appropriate resources like the Portland Adult Education Street Academy for educational and vocation services.
The youth we work with are resilient and strong. They just need some direction and support so that so that they can rebuild their lives. United Way of Greater Portland funding makes this youth outreach program possible.