When I was three years old, Children’s Services removed me from my home due to my parents’ addiction issues. I was placed directly in a group home for toddlers, until a foster home could be located. I spent eight years in one foster home. But as I got older, things started to change. I was starting to understand my situation more: that I wasn’t living with my real parents, that my home life was different from my friends’ at school. It created a lot of anger that I couldn’t understand. Why was I here? Why was I taken away from my family? All of this wondering about where I came from started to build up in me, and I started to act out.
My foster parents decided they couldn’t have me in their home anymore. I was bounced around in group care with no sense of stability and no real parents or family. Eventually I was couch surfing because Children’s Services had no other placements for me. When I had nowhere else to go, I slept on slides in playgroups, or laundry rooms in open apartment buildings.
At 17, I came to YESS. I met people who could help me manage my anger and build my confidence. Once I wasn’t obsessed with the past anymore, I could start to think about the future. I’ve caught up on school and I’m finally getting my high school diploma. I want to go to post-secondary, but I don’t know what I want to take yet. I love music, but I also love space and the universe and the idea of exploring it. Maybe that comes from my desire to know where I came from—but on the larger scale of where we all come from. It’s like I’ve finally found my place.
The gift of hope is yours to give to youth in need. One “Give Hope” #GiveChristmas card provides the necessities to one youth for one day. When a kid like Brandon doesn’t have to worry about where he’ll sleep or where his next meal is coming from, he can focus on his potential and start to feel positive about the future. Your gift will change a life. Visit www.givechristmas.yess.org