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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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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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