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Nov 14, 2016

With Support Comes A New Life

For most of his life, 18 year old Adam Ramey didn’t like adults. Growing up in a family where he experienced domestic violence, he never had anyone that he could depend on. After brief stays at a shelter and a foster home, at age 13 he arrived at Cordero—one of our residential services—a scared, angry teen who pushed people away. Having felt betrayed and abandoned for years, Adam remained angry and aloof. The Cordero staff kept trying to communicate with him saying, “we’re here for you.” Says Adam, “first I thought that was ridiculous, you don’t even know me. But there was one person who persisted and I believed her sincerity and began opening up. Thanks to the Cordero staff, I was able to become the person I am today. They helped keep me sane.” It took a few months, but gradually Adam realized that there really were people who cared for him. He soon developed close relationships with staff and peers.

That was the first step Adam took toward his path of healing, but there was still a big hurdle he had to overcome: lying about his past. Because his childhood was so traumatic, he says he blocked out much of it from his memory, including some things he did that hurt others. After a year and a half of telling lies, he finally told the truth and took accountability for his actions. “No one wants to talk about things they did wrong,” says Adam. To his surprise, the Cordero staff accepted him and supported his process of making positive changes in his life.

Along with a supportive staff, Cordero provided Adam the structure necessary for his change. “Before Cordero, I got a 0.6 GPA in my eighth grade science class. I went to school high, hung out with girls off campus and skipped class,” said Adam. But going to high school within the Cordero residence without the distractions he previously experienced in high school, Adam could focus on school work in a new way. He found new interests and started writing poetry and music lyrics. Last June he graduated with a 3.6 grade point average. His long term goal is to go to Portland State University to study music. He discovered his passion for music at Cordero. “Every summer we had a luau and I performed along with other peers for two years. It was such a great event,” says Adam.

Adam graduates from Cordero soon to begin his new life full of hope and gratitude. Says Adam, “without Janus and the supportive staff at Cordero, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I wouldn’t have the same goals, I wouldn’t love people. I would still be an angry kid.” 

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Nov 28, 2018
Ending Youth Homelessness

Every night, our downtown Portland shelters are home to youth ages 16-24 who have no other place to go. Youth often line up outside the door at 8:30 pm, hoping to get a bed and a meal for the night. Not everyone gets in. With a limit of 60 beds, the shelter can only accommodate 60 youth each night. During the winter months, there are an additional 10 beds. This year alone, the shelters housed and fed over 500 youth. While our shelters are running at full capacity and our street outreach workers are out every night providing warm clothing and crisis-intervention services, there are some positive shifts affecting the numbers and demographics of homeless youth in Multnomah County.

Nov 26, 2018
​Employee Spotlight—Gina McConnell

Gina knows what it feels like to run away. She did it at age 12 to avoid abuse at home, but like so many youth on the street, she quickly became a target for sex trafficking. After many years “in the life,” she spent time in prison where she befriended a person who said to her when she was released, “I need you to go out there and be our voice.” This was a pivotal moment for Gina and from that point on, she was committed to helping youth who have experienced similar trauma as she did. Today she works in the Cowlitz County Youth Services Program as a case manager for sexually-exploited youth. We talked to Gina to find out how her experiences has prepared her for this role.

Nov 12, 2018
Share The Season Of Giving

It's not too early to start thinking about giving for the holidays. Over 600 children and youth call Janus Youth Programs home every day. You can make their season brighter. Here are a few ideas:

  • Adopt a shelter or residential program: Provide gifts ($40 or less) for 12 youth in Portland or Vancouver/Cowlitz. We will provide a holiday wish list with names and ages.
  • Make a tax-deductible donation and leave the shopping to us!
  • Organize a donation drive: Purchase new blankets, jackets, socks or winter weather gear for homeless youth in need.

Contact us by completing this form and email to januscommunications@janusyouth.org.

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