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Mar 31, 2016

Changing the Course of my Life

My name is Jeremy. I am 18 years old and currently reside at the Cordero House. Over the past two years that I have lived here, it has become evident to me that there is not a single thing in this life that should be taken for granted. I do my best to approach every day with passion, vigor and love for all things. I love being alive! I know that now. But it was not always that way. Growing up, I lived with my adopted parents and five siblings (three brothers and two sisters). My dad had an amazing job that allowed us to live in a beautiful home, sitting on 6 acres of property, with a panoramic view of Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Rainier, Mt. Adams and Mt. Hood. We had everything that we ever wanted, and more. Although now I can look back and see how privileged I was to live in such a beautiful place, at the time I remained ignorant to the beauty of the world around me. From the outside, my family may have appeared similar to your stereotypical “Partridge Family.” But the things that went on behind closed doors were anything but. I lived in that home until I was 16 years old. I made plenty of mistakes that I now regret with all of my heart, and I damaged the very relationships that meant the most to me. My life had been shattered, and I could not even see that it was by my own doing.

It took three months of being locked up to teach me that life is not a game. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, I learned that the hard way. Try spending three months without seeing the sun or the stars, or without breathing in the fresh spring air. It was probably the hardest thing that I have ever had to do. Those three months truly humbled me and caused me to see life from a much different perspective. When I was presented with the opportunity to go live at the Cordero House, I jumped on it.

Since being at Cordero House, I have learned soooo much. I have made significant strides towards improving my own life, as well as the lives of those that I have hurt. I have become so much more responsible than I was before, I graduated high school with a 3.8 GPA and I have even begun taking online college courses. I also have learned how to play guitar from a few of the staff at my program which has always been a dream of mine. My life has truly taken a turn for the better. I see the goodness inside of people that I once believed did not exist. I have a much brighter outlook on the world than I did before. I feel blessed to live with such stupendous people who truly care about others and that make it their life’s work to help people like me become successful in life. Without the help of Cordero and all of the staff that devote their time there, I don’t think my life would look quite as it does today. I owe so much to them and I truly treasure all of those who have helped me along throughout this journey in my life. I have truly discovered myself, my values, and the role in which I am to play in this world. I have found my purpose in life and I plan to pursue it.

Looking ahead, I will be graduating the program at Cordero in about four months. I will be attending Portland State University this fall. Two years ago, I never even dreamed that this would be a possibility. Through my own hard work and the relentless and compassionate effort of all the staff at Cordero, this has become my reality. I have made plenty of mistakes that I wish that I could take back. But with all of the things that I have learned in my time at Cordero, I can now work hard to overcome my mistakes and be the man that my own parents never thought that I could be. The man that I never thought I could be. Every day is a new adventure, a gift. I see that now. Thank you to all of the wonderful people at Cordero House and Janus Youth Programs that have made all of this possible. You are all truly amazing, I wish that there were more people like you in this world. My time at Cordero House has had a truly profound impact on my life, one that I will never forget. Thank you.

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Jan 18, 2018
Employee Spotlight—Washington Outreach Specialists

Every day our Outreach Specialists in Washington are busy serving homeless youth who have no one else to turn to. The team of three staff—Keeva Haverkost, Jessica Villasenor, and Jean Withers—work like a well-oiled machine, supporting each other so they can provide high quality service to youth. All of them are passionate about their work. Bettina Boles, Program Supervisor of The Perch and Yellow Brick Road Washington, says of her team, “Each person brings their unique contribution and special reason to work as an Outreach Specialist.” According to Bettina, the team has multifaceted roles— hosting The Perch—our drop-in center for youth—conducting street outreach for Yellow Brick Road, Washington and leading educational presentations that help the community better understand human trafficking and its impact in Clark County.

Jan 09, 2018
Youth Spotlight—Noah Schultz and his” Inspiring Action Tour”

Noah Schultz is a 25-year old graduate of the Hope Partnership program who served 7.5 years in the custody of the Oregon Youth Authority (OYA). While at the MacLaren Correctional Facility, Noah received two Bachelor of Arts degrees. Since his release in October 2016, he has become an outspoken youth advocate, with a passion to drive reform in our justice system, inspiring hope, action and humanizing the stories of the incarcerated. In November 2017, Noah completed a two-month “Inspiring Action Tour” at ten correctional facilities throughout the U.S. where he showed the award-winning documentary film about him, “Perception from Prison to Purpose.” He is co-owner of Forgotten Culture Clothing and co-founder of Verbal Escape. Noah spoke to us about his tour.

Dec 18, 2017
Sixth Grader Organizes Sock Drive For Janus Youth

Eleven-year old Quentin Brown organized a winter sock drive at his school, Cascade Heights Public Charter School, collecting 582 pairs of socks for our youth. This is his second year organizing the sock drive.

 Last year, Janus awarded Quentin the “Stars for Kids Award” for his contributions to our youth. Each year on his birthday, Quentin asks family members to give him gifts that he can donate to Portland’s homeless youth. Rather than getting toys and games, Quentin gets socks, water bottles, hats and scarfs that he packs up in a bin and brings down to the Janus administrative office. Last year, he even brought a little piggy bank with all of his savings and gave it to Janus. He has been doing this for seven years now. By thinking of the needs of others, he sets an example for his peers, family and community, showing the impact kids have on helping other kids. Quentin demonstrates that acts of kindness can be cultivated at a young age. 

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