Last week we received the most heartfelt message from a former YESS youth, sharing her story and all the amazing things that have happened to her since she left us. With your support, you are a part of stories like these–not just helping youth while they’re at YESS, but throughout their lives.
I wanted to write to you guys to tell you a bit about how I have been doing. It has been almost 12 years since I was a client with YESS and I am sure many if not all of the staff that used to work there have moved on, but I feel it is important to give you an update.
I had a lot of troubles when I was growing up. I stayed in the SkY program (long-term residence) for a good while. The client care workers there supported me through a lot of my issues. Helped me get my self-harm under control, come away from substance abuse. I worked hard while I was there to be a better, healthier person, but it is because of the staff that I made it as far as I did.
Over the years I have had many ups and downs. I have regressed in some areas but I always fought my way back out. After a move across the country, I started fresh. I had a beautiful baby boy at 23, and he is now almost 6. Most importantly, after I had him I knew I needed to do more. I went back to school and obtained my high school diploma and then moved on to college.
This is the important part. Thanks to all the staff and all YESS did for me, my passion lays with helping others. I looked at many courses and none of them felt like home except for Social Services. I know in my heart and soul that this is where I am meant to be. I am meant to help others the way YESS once helped me; to advocate and fight for those who feel they can’t do so for themselves, the way YESS had done for me.
I have just finished my second year, and have one left to go before I graduate, but I have recently had the opportunity to work on a placement at an emergency shelter for women and children. It is the most rewarding thing I have ever done with my education, to the point where I have applied for a casual position with them while I continue my education.
I felt it was important to write you, because as I have learned even in just the 4 weeks that I did my placement, the social services field is often a thankless one. It is draining, emotionally, physically, mentally; it is one of the hardest jobs I have ever had to do, next to motherhood (and I’m a single mom). Despite the fact that it is difficult and full of sad stories, there is always a success. Success can mean different things for different people, but for me, and for you guys, this success story ends with a strong, independent woman, with ever-lasting gratitude towards the staff at YESS for giving her a second chance, for believing she could be and do more, and for lighting the fire that gave her the passion to make a difference in the lives of others.
Thank you so much for everything you did for me and for what you continue to do for countless others. For being a parent, a friend, a light in the dark, a voice in the endless void. Thank you. Most importantly, thank you for the chance at life I would not have gotten, for the ability to know I can be more for my son, all of which I would not have without the guidance, care, and love YESS provided.