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May 30, 2018

Youth Spotlight—Kristin Sanchez

“Janus Youth changed my life in so many ways,” says 28 year-old, Kristin Sanchez. As a teen mom, in a violent relationship and trying to find stable housing, Kristin came to Insights Teen Parent Program for support.

Struggling as a young parent, Kristin embarked on a difficult journey when her then two-year old son was placed into foster care by the Department of Human Services-Child Welfare (DHS). While this was heartbreaking for her, Kristin was determined to do all that she could to get him back in her care.

She started by getting support from Insights’ Echo program which provides customized services for young parents in foster care or for those whose children are in foster care. “Whatever they would ask me to do, I would do more. Nothing was going to stop me,” says Kristin. She got involved in Insights’ Strong Moms Group focused on learning the skills she needed keep herself and her child safe and became a role model for other young moms in the group, encouraging them to meet all of DHS’ requirements.

After eight months and a lot of hard work, Kristin’s son was returned to her. “This situation helped me grow in so many ways and I was confident that the information I received from the Janus Youth programs made me who I am today.”

Kristin is the proud and devoted mother of two children, ages 8 and 11. She is married and both she and her family are living in a 3-bedroom house and are thriving. Her son is a talented artist. “He can draw anything,” says Kristin. He was recently accepted into a charter school, where he’ll begin middle school in the fall. Kristin works at JOIN—a homeless street outreach and housing placement organization—as their Dayspace Worker helping those experiencing homelessness. She is in her junior year at Portland State University working towards a degree in psychology. Somewhere in her future, Kristin hopes to have a career in the medical field as an ultrasound technician. 

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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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