The most important thing that I gained from my community involvement these past few months was actually insight into my own life – At a panel where I spoke, held by David Lester at St. Thomas in Camas, a man asked,
“How do we prevent homelessness before it happens?”
A representative from Partners in Careers insisted that preventing homelessness began with teenagers before they have an opportunity to be homeless because, once you’re on the streets or living in a shelter, getting out of there is one of the hardest things whoever do.
Agreeing with her response, I included that mentorship was one of the most important things that I have ever received.
Without this, I would’ve never have gone to college or had the opportunity to grow into the person I am today – and I am super grateful to be this person. Between the people who chose to invest in me and the education I have fought to receive, that is how I made it out. Because truly, I should’ve been homeless and addicted to alcohol or another substance. Without these two things, I strongly believe that my life would be very different.
You can help prevent homelessness today by doing two things for youth in and communities. 1.) Mentorship and 2.) Encouraging education.
Mentorship isn’t easy. The people who chose to invest me, sought after me even when I was terrible at staying connected. Being a mentor isn’t about a friendship, it’s about showing up over and over and over again until the person your mentoring starts to build a successful network and structure to their life.
Education is also of the utmost importance because it allows people to think for themselves. And allows them to form opinions, to stay educated and to have worldly perspectives be on their own lives.