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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.

What does a Youth Care Specialist do?

I work the swing shift at Oak Grove—a secure shelter for runaway and at-risk youth arriving from a juvenile detention center or through law enforcement. Often youth are here for a few days. The goal of the program is to reunify youth with their families within 48-hours of placement through on-site crisis intervention and family-mediation services. We connect youth who require greater assistance to services designed to promote safe family reunification. My role is to spend time with each youth, make sure they are safe, clothed, fed and listen to them.

How has your life experiences help you in your work?

Because I was once a runaway youth, as well as a sex-traffick survivor (CSEC), I understand many of the feelings these youth have. I pay attention to their facial expressions, body cues and consider each as a unique individual. While I have my own personal testimony, I rarely share it unless it is relevant to help a youth. I focus the conversation on them, giving my full attention. Sometimes it works, other times they may not be interested in talking. Usually they let me in.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

One of the best parts of my job is playing a role in making sure there is one less homeless youth on the street. I appreciate getting phone calls from youth or seeing them in a public place and they tell me about the progress they are making with their lives. They may tell me about aging out of foster care into independent living, or getting a job or staying in school. Some will say, “I remember you being very kind to me.” Helping youth get that second chance as I did makes me feel like I am doing something to make a difference in their lives.

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Dec 07, 2017
Employee Spotlight—Shelly Harryman

Shelly Harryman has been a dedicated Youth Care Specialist at Oak Bridge Youth Shelter in Washington since 2002. Oak Bridge Youth Shelter provides 24-hour crisis intervention and emergency shelter with services accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week for youth ages 9-17. In November, Shelly received her 15-Year Service Award from Janus. When discussing what has motivated her for the past 15 years Shelly says, “I have a passion to advocate for youth. We are their only hope.”

Nov 29, 2017
Youth Spotlight—Roger

For most of his life, 18-year old Roger did not fit in. Although he did well academically at school, most of his peers avoided him. “I had a ‘stay away from me’ aura and people didn’t like me,” says Roger as he reflects back on his elementary and high school years. Roger grew up in Salem with two older brothers. His parents got divorced when he was six. By fifth grade, he was experiencing depression and would lock himself up in his room all day. “My mom forced me to cook so she could see me.”

Nov 16, 2017
Visit The Sharing Tree at Washington Square Mall & Look for Janus Youth With the Red Dot on Gift Tag

The Sharing Tree at Washington Square Mall is a great way to make sure each of our youth has a gift to open on Christmas morning. Just pick an ornament from the tree located in the Nordstrom wing, near Williams-Sonoma and purchase the item listed on the tag. Return the unwrapped gifts to the Sharing Tree by December 20th so the gifts can be delivered by Christmas. These gifts are distributed to Janus and eight other charities throughout the Portland metro area. Each year, more than 4,500 gifts are given to those in need through the Washington Square Sharing Tree.

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