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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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Mar 09, 2017
Employee Spotlight— Roy Spencer

Every night of the week, a crowd of youth line up to get into our downtown Portland shelter where they get a warm bed and meal for the night. Preparing for their arrival every day takes a lot of work, including cooking their dinner. We talked to Roy Spencer, Porchlight Shelter Supervisor, about his job which includes managing and cleaning the shelter, doing light maintenance work and feeding up to 70 homeless youth daily. In addition to performing all of those tasks, according to his supervisor, Dennis Lundberg, “Roy will always step in when the shelter is short-staffed, going the extra mile for the staff and youth we serve. For example, this week he is on call 24/7 for 14 days straight.” Roy has been working for Janus for over three years. A soft-spoken person with an easy smile, he has earned respect from his peers and youth.

Feb 15, 2017
​Next steps After Imani

This month, Christian Ford will graduate from Imani House, one of our residential treatment programs that help youth between the ages of 13 to 18 rebuild their lives. 18 year-old Christian, a soft-spoken youth, has plans for his life after Imani. Like so many of the youth we serve, his journey in getting to where he is today was filled with many challenges.

Feb 13, 2017
​Board of Directors President Spotlight—Stephen McCammon

Stephen McCammon is the new President of the Janus Board of Directors. He has been a Board member since 2013. He lives with his wife Mary Ann. They are spending the month of February in Yelapa, Mexico where Mary Ann will teach quilting to the women in the village so they can sell their work to visiting tourists. We appreciate the time he took to answer our questions for this interview.

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