Raven’s Story

“My dream is for people to actually love themselves and not have race conflicts. To not be judged.”

– Raven, a former youth at Avenues

*Raven recently moved out of an Avenues program. She has a lot of advice for youth who might stay at Avenues, including to wear shower shoes, clean up after themselves, and be careful about where they leave their leftovers, because a housemate might eat it. Raven also wants youth to know that they can leave a bad situation if they’re in one.

“You don’t have to go through what you’ve been going through. Coming here is a start over,” Raven said. “It’s been really cool (working with staff).”

Raven was 19 when she left a bad situation at home. Her entire family was experiencing homelessness, and she couldn’t stay with her mom anymore. On her own, she left her family to stay with a friend, and eventually came to Avenues. It was an incredibly stressful time in her life.

While at Avenues, Raven formed a close connection with her Youth Advocate and Engagement Specialist (YAES) and other youth living at the house. She shared with staff that her goals were to find housing, and to start taking care of her mental health, something she hadn’t been able to do for a while. Together, they got started on Raven’s goals.

“She’s been helping me get doctor’s appointments and housing,” Raven shared about her YAES. “I’m probably going to get a therapist and eventually a psychiatrist.”

Avenues was able to give Raven the time and space she needed to focus on her health and wellness. She regularly met with her mental health team, and was able to start medications that she needed. When Raven’s mom got housing and was more stable, Raven felt like she was in a good place to move back home. She still checks in weekly with YAES, and is continuing to work on her health and wellness goals. She’s happy to be living with family again.

Raven shared that society can do better for youth in a couple ways. In addition to ending racism, Raven wants there to be more housing options for people, and to make resources for youth experiencing homelessness easier to access.

You can support youth like Raven this holiday season by making a gift to Avenues.