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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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May 22, 2017
Scholarships Awarded To Our Youth

On May 17th, the Janus Board of Directors, staff and community members honored 15 youth in our programs who were recipients of our scholarship awards. Now in its sixteenth year, the scholarships open the door to education for our youth by helping to pay for school expenses such as tuition, books and rent.

This year’s scholarship recipients are from an array of Janus programs including Insights Teen Parent Program, Imani House, Changes, Annex I, Harry’s Mother and Hope Partnership. Special thanks to Robert Gootee and Moda Health for their support in launching the Scholarship Fund in 2001 and to Joanne Senders—a generous donor who established the Joanne Senders Scholarship Fund.  

Photo: Left to right: Jeremy Ericksen, Thomas Spisla, Christian Ford, Griffin Thomas, Robert Gootee, Gustavo Portillo-Soto, Fariborz Pakseresht, Dennis Morrow and Dalon Murray. Not pictured: Alejandra Hernandez, Nicholas Schafer, Elishah Eduardo Asbaugh, Johnathan Baker, Cayce French, Robert Miller, Agustin Estrada-Vargas, Ezequiel Vasquez, and Bailey Allman.

May 08, 2017
Youth Voices—In Their Own Words

My experience at Cordero House was one of the most significant events to have happened to me. Let me start with a background of who I am. I came from a small village in the countryside of El Salvador. At a young age, I learned to be independent, going to school and helping with the daily chores. I moved to the city for a very brief moment before flying to the U.S. At first, I felt strange and overwhelmed with everyone and everything around me. As time went by, I found myself in a state of confusion. Alone, I had no one to turn to ask for help. Instead, I did things that to this day I regret. Such events led to me spending time in a youth corrections facility.

May 01, 2017
Employee Spotlight—Angie Corll

Angie knows what it feels like to run away. She did it for years, running away from abusive and neglectful homes, opting for freedom and danger of the streets over security. This life on the run led her down many dark paths for years until she became the kid that no one wanted to take in. Finally, in 1993, with the help of her probation officer, she entered a Janus residential program. That was a turning point. Says Angie, “I was blessed to have been given a second chance.” Now she works as a Youth Care Specialist at our Oak Grove shelter in SW Washington, helping youth who are facing similar life crisis as she did. We talked to Angie to find out how her experiences has prepared her to serve our youth.

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