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Apr 02, 2018

​Employee Spotlight—Annie Colton

Finding affordable housing in the Portland/Vancouver area is difficult in the best of circumstances. For many homeless youth, the challenge may seem insurmountable—that is where Annie Colton steps in. Annie has been working as a Housing Case Manager in Vancouver, Washington for over a year. She provides the lifeboat that helps youth ages 18-25, navigate through the unchartered waters of housing. Working in collaboration with two other caseworkers in The Perch, our Vancouver drop-in center, her job is focused on getting youth off the streets and into stable housing.

In addition to high costs, there are many barriers homeless youth face in finding housing—a criminal record, a clean rental history or even their age. To help overcome these obstacles, Annie assists youth in drafting letters to landlords, explains what a lease or an eviction notice is and teaches them what it means to be a good neighbor. “This past winter, some of our youth got evicted. I try to address the issues that led to the eviction, like substance abuse or too many guests,” says Annie. Often there are setbacks and we may not see the success of our work for one to two years. “When this happens, our clients often want to disappear but we tell they we’re here for them, that we are not giving up and they can learn from their experiences. I try to build their confidence.”

Annie has always wanted to help others especially at-risk youth, having been one herself. She was in foster care when she ran away at 13 years old and ended up on the doorstep of Oak Bridge, our temporary youth shelter in Vancouver. “This led to something very positive for me. I ended up with a nurturing foster parent and eventually went on to get my Bachelor of Arts degree in human development and a certificate in human services and case management,” says Annie. She gets satisfaction from being a positive and professional role model as well as an advocate for her clients. She enjoys seeing them reach important milestones—simple things like getting dressed and ready in the morning to socialize in the world or going to treatment for the first time. And Annie is happy when youth graduate out of the program. Says Annie, “I tell them all the time, you have value, you have worth.”

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Jan 29, 2019
Employee Spotlight - Krista Wilson

Krista Wilson has been a dedicated Youth Care Specialist at Oak Bridge Youth Shelter in Washington for three and a half years. 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. When discussing what motivates her Krista says “making kids laugh. Even in times of heartache, you can always get a better perspective on life when you laugh.”

Jan 22, 2019
January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month

Robin Miller, a Case Manager in our Washington Program, was 21 years old when she was sexually exploited. “In 1993, I was trafficked from a club in Portland up and down the West Coast and in six states.” It took me six years to finally get the courage to leave my trafficker in 1999, but healing from the abuse took more than a decade more, in part, because there was no coordinated system of care available to support survivors,” she said. Robin gave this testimony before the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners last year. Once again, the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners adopted a proclamation on January 17, 2019 recognizing January as Human Trafficking Awareness Month in Multnomah County.

Jan 15, 2019
An Easy Way to Give

You can donate to us every time you use shop at Fred Meyer or Amazon. If you link your Fred Meyer Rewards card or Amazon account on Amazon Smile to Janus Youth, we will get a percentage of the price of eligible purchases. It is that simple! Click these links to enroll in Fred Meyer and AmazonSmile community rewards programs and start giving to Janus Youth Programs!

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