AB grew up in an abusive home. Soon they resorted to sleeping at friends’ places and sleeping outside. The first time they came to YESS was on a night when it was too cold to sleep outside.
“It was actually a lot better than I expected. I met staff who talked to me about my experiences and made me feel a bit better,” says AB. “They encouraged me to stay in school while I was staying in shelter. It was nice to have this place that I knew was a good option for me.”
YESS staff helped AB find housing and AB is now living in a group home environment where they can learn the basics about living on their own. AB’s most defining experience at YESS was feeling supported to not just feel safe, but also move forward. With their basic needs met in a safe place with good people who care, AB felt empowered to set goals and make plans to accomplish them.
“My goals are to love myself,” says AB. “I have not done a good job at this in my life and the people around me growing up didn’t help with this either, but I’m working on it. It takes such small steps to change how you see yourself.”
AB sees a future in helping people who have been in the same situations AB has experienced. Like many other YESS youth, AB feels they could help others experiencing homelessness because they understand how those people feel. If AB could give someone experiencing homelessness advice now, what would they say?
“I would say hang in there and listen to the people who are saying they want to help you figure out how to help yourself,” says AB. “I would say you can get through this, but you have to focus on staying clean and go to treatment if you need to. And deal with the stuff that happened to you as a kid and talk about it with a therapist or a counsellor and release it all.”
AB has been so strong and committed to their goals. What would they say is their greatest accomplishment?
“Living my life has been an accomplishment. It is so hard sometimes and the fact that I’m still here is a big deal,” says AB. “I don’t know what I’m going to do [when I finish school and get a job] but as I go through each step I feel more confident about the next one.”
We are so proud of AB and all the hard work they’ve put towards their goals and their healing. It is truly inspiring to see AB apply what they’ve learned about self-love and use that as their momentum to move forward.