Meet Our Young People

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Malcolm

My goals have always been to find a good job that would allow me to support myself and my family.  My mother suffers from major health issues and even as a child, I knew that I had to work hard so I could one day take care of her.  She deserves it!

I decided to come to Covenant House for that very reason- I needed help finding a good job.  I didn’t have much work experience and knew that I needed certain skills and training to be successful.  Staff at Covenant House helped connect me to a community organization that provided young people with information technology training. After six months of training, I was sent on an internship with the American Red Cross.  I was also enrolled at Northern Virginia Community College of Alexandria (NOVA) so I could begin working toward my Associate’s Degree.

Through my internship at the Red Cross I gained more experience in IT and made a lot of great connections.  I also graduated this year with my Associate’s Degree from NOVA.  I know that I wouldn’t have made it this far if it wasn’t for the great support system that I have at Covenant House.  I truly hope that Mr. Rogers in the job training program knows just how much his help and motivation has meant to me.  Success is so much easier when someone has your back, and Covenant House has always been there for me.

With the skills that I have gained from working at the Red Cross, I plan to pursue a career in IT and continue moving forward in my education.   I also want to start a family of my own one day.

Covenant House is so important to the community because they not only help homeless youth, but they also help youth who dropout of high school get there GED.  They are also there for those who may already have their high school diploma and just need some help finding a job or going to college.  I believe in the mission of Covenant House.  Not just because they’ve helped me, but because I’ve seen how drastically they’ve changed the lives of some of my closest friends.  You can’t help but be thankful for people who make you better.

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Tiffany

Tiffany

I came to Covenant House Washington after being evicted from my home.  My job at the time did not have maternity leave and once I entered my ninth month of pregnancy, they let me go. With the loss of my job, I was unable to pay my rent.  Eventually I found myself on the street and pregnant.  Looking back, that was one of the hardest times of my life.  I was alone, with little money, and no place to stay for me and my son.

When I found Covenant House, I found my strength again.  I felt like they were offering me a second chance at life, and this time the stakes were much higher because I had a son to take care of.  I’ve learned that being on the streets can either break you or make you humble yourself toward life.  I chose to humble myself and ask for help.

While living at Covenant House I was able to get back on my feet and find stable employment.  My goal was to not just find a job, but a career which would offer me health benefits for my son and a consistent, secure lifestyle. Nearly 9 years after first walking through the doors of Covenant House, I now have a great career as a banker and am able to care for my son without any doubts or fears for the future.

I owe a lot to Covenant House for helping me get back on my feet.  They offer so many troubled young people a chance to get their lives back on track.  They taught me discipline and helped me find clarity about my goals.  My life is definitely better off because of it.

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Saquan

Saquan

I first heard about Covenant House Washington (CHW) while attending a resource fair for employment services.  At the time I was seriously look for a way to finish my high school education. The fair had information tables for several different organizations, but after speaking with staff from Covenant House, I realized they were the best fit for me.

I had always thought I had all the answers.  I have always been frustrated by our country’s social and political systems.  I knew I wanted to one day become a politician so that I can have an active voice in establishing change, but I had no idea how to get there.

After obtaining my GED, I met with staff at Covenant House to discuss my career goals.  I told them about my passion for music and my dreams to one day hold a political office.  They helped me realize that I needed a plan.  While I knew my long term goals, I had to develop short term goals to help me get there.

I enrolled in the Career Pathways Program at Covenant House to begin working toward my dreams.  While in the program, I signed on to work as an intern in the CHW Facilities Department.   I started saving my money to purchase musical equipment so that I could practice my craft at home.  The internship eventually turned into a full time job, where I am now able to work as an employee at an organization that helped me gain the skills I need to be successful.

I will be starting school at Trinity University in the fall.  My plan is to study Business and continue working on music in my spare time.

I am extremely grateful for my Covenant House family.  They not only helped me find employment, but they have also helped me grow as a young man.  The staff offered me practical advice that I could trust. Covenant House is important to youth in this community because they keep us off the street, and in a safe environment where we can continue working to better ourselves in a positive way.

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Jairus

Jairus

I emancipated myself from my parents at the age of 17.

Life at home was unstable and unhealthy.  I had experienced abuse as a child and even as a teenager I knew I would be safer on my own.  I was right.  Making the decision to leave home forced me to grow up fast.  I made school a priority, and after graduating from high school, I entered into my first year at Georgetown University.

College life proved to be much different than high school.  Eventually the stress of juggling academics and life caught up to me.  I was forced to take a medical leave from school in order to work things out.  Due to my medical issues, I was also unable to work and soon found myself running out of my savings.  I of course had no family to turn to, so I made the decision to reach out to Covenant House for help.

Not a day goes by that I’m not thankful they took me in.  I lived at the Crisis Center from December 2013 to February 2014.  Thanks to the staff and the services they offered me, I was able to get back on my feet.  They helped me enter into treatment, and also helped me find a job at a law firm so that I could work my way out of the shelter. Under proper treatment, I was eventually able to return to Georgetown for the 2014 – 2015 academic year as an English major.

Now at 22, I work at Trustify, a DC based tech startup, and I am currently writing a forthcoming book.   I also run Creating Survivors, a nonprofit dedicated to increasing access to counseling services in education in order to reduce the rate of youth suicide and help youth overcome adversity.  Unfortunately my story and experiences are not unique. The only unique thing about my experiences is that people entered my life and helped to provide the support, both financially and emotionally, for me to heal and grow as a person. So many youth do not have this benefit, and that is why I started Creating Survivors, to be an advocate for youth facing adversity, and help them as they begin the life long process of becoming a survivor.

Covenant House was there for me when I had no one else to turn to.  Now I am able to pay it forward to other young people who are struggling-for that I remain eternally grateful.

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Shay

Shay’Ann

God brought me to Covenant House. I became homeless at the age of 17 due to my mother and I having personal issues. I hopped from house to house, staying with family members and friends until I eventually ended up at a women’s shelter.  Shortly after arriving there I received a called from Covenant House.  They said they had room available for me at their crisis center.  I believe that was the day my life truly began.

Covenant House has helped boost my self esteem.  They have helped me to not only believe in myself, but also to believe in my dreams.  I knew that I wanted something better for my life and I knew I wanted to become a successful person. I just didn’t know how to get there.

Just having a place to stay was not good enough for me.  I wanted to work.  After moving into Covenant House, I would wake up every morning and walk from business to business, hoping and praying that someone would give me the opportunity to work.

During that very difficult time, the staff at Covenant House kept me motivated.  They taught me that I couldn’t feel sorry for myself and that if I was going to prove the world wrong, I had to throw everything I had into my dream.  I feel so lucky when I stop and look at how far I’ve come.  I am currently working as a Customer Service Agent for Jet Blue, and finally in a position where I can take care of myself.

If I had an opportunity to reach out to other young people who may be going through a tough situation like I was, I’d tell them to never give up.  You have to dust yourself off and get back on your feet.  You’re going to have to pray, believe in yourself, and always remember that you are something special to God.

 

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