Serena's Story: How Streetwork Helps Homeless Youth
When Serena first came to Safe Horizon, she was bright, beautiful ... and homeless at 15. Like up to 60% of homeless teens who walk through our doors, Serena had left a home filled with violence and abuse and ended up on the streets. Whether violence occurs in their homes or on the streets, young people like Serena are often the victims. They turn to prostitution, crime and drugs to survive. They're vulnerable to HIV and other diseases. They're often angry, frightened, despondent, and difficult to reach, running from a violent past toward no real future.
We are all entitled to a refuge, a safe place away from danger. That's why Safe Horizon founded Streetwork -- to offer a safe place where young people like Serena find the care and compassion they so urgently need. Every year, Safe Horizon makes over 18,000 contacts with homeless and street-involved youth, distributes 45,000 meals and offers a lifeline to thousands. Our Streetwork drop-in centers and overnight shelters offer places where those who spend so much of their lives in danger can feel safe, empowered, cared for and encouraged. First, we meet the basic needs for food, warm clothing and medical care. Then we offer counseling, GED preparation, legal services, emergency housing, support groups and a range of other services that empower young people to begin to build a safe, secure and healthy new life.
With the help of Streetwork's critical services, Serena has made it to the safe place she was hoping for. She has found housing, earned her GED and found full-time employment. She is hoping to begin college and looks forward to starting a family of her own. What each young person receives from Streetwork is what he or she needs to take the next step on his or her own path to safety and healing, whether that is a safe place to sleep or a connection to a compassionate counselor.
With the support of friends like you, we are able to reach kids like Serena. Thank you for helping Safe Horizon move more homeless and street-involved youth from crisis to confidence.