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When the Streets Are Home

narrative by RR alumna, age 20; infographic from survivors group at RR

I was in ninth grade when I started getting bullied so I stopped going to school. I got into truancy and had to go to court. The judge told me if I continue to not go I’ll be removed from my home. I didn’t listen and was removed a week later and placed into RR as my very first placement. I was there for a few weeks and then decided to run, having nowhere to go but the streets. That was the first time I had ever been on the streets. I was cold, scared and confused but I felt free because I had no one looking over my shoulder. It was nice in the moment but didn’t help me in anyway but put me in Juvie and got me hurt. I ran a few times until my last one I ran out of state while pregnant. Got locked up for a few weeks there and brought back to Colorado, just so I can run again to be with the man I thought who cared for me. Nine months later had my kid and wasn’t in a stable living place so she was taken a few months later. It broke me. I had nothing left. I was depressed so I started doing stupid shit again and got placed into another placement. Placement to placement to placement. Then aged out at 18, and this is when the second part of my story comes in.

I saved up all of my money and got my own apartment in another state just three months later, had my son a few days later and didn’t have much. That’s when I realized life isn’t about fun and being on your own. I lived on my own with my kid and baby daddy for almost 2 years. Then things happened and I was wished death upon, so I left with my son and came back to Colorado. Moral of my story is that the streets, running away, and domestic violence is not a game for the weak.

RR is still sitting by my side and helping me through it all and navigating me. RR is one of the best resources I’ve ever had that never let me down and yet still helps me with schooling and just to get through life. If it wasn’t for RR I don’t know where I would be or what I would be doing. Thank you RR for all the support and resources you have provided and still do. Myself and my son are in a much better place and doing so much better. I have become a so much better version of who I can and have a bright future.

In 2020, Resilience Rising launched its community-based alumnae mentoring services for the young survivors who have been through our residential program, providing life-long access to social recovery capital, crisis support, and case management. Healing from trauma is a life-long process that requires ongoing support from a positive social network. Research shows that having one trusted adult improves the outcomes for youth in and aging out of the foster care system. Resilience Rising's mentoring program aims to maintain established rapport between youth and trusted adults, enhance youth capacity for independent living skills, and ultimately reduce statistical outcomes of aging out, namely school drop-out rates and recidivism of homelessness and incarceration. With an ultimate aim of increasing a client’s social recovery capital, we can reduce the vulnerability and risk factors for recidivism of substance use, homelessness, survival sex, and sexual exploitation.

Our mentoring program provides 24-hour crisis support and ongoing supportive services remotely and in person. Our community-based mentoring services provide basic needs like food, clothing, and hygiene supplies; enhancement of independent living skills; case management for housing resources, employment, transportation, medical care, substance abuse, and mental health; academic tutoring and school supplies like laptops; parenting support and baby supplies like diapers; legal advocacy; and celebration of milestones and holidays. Remote crisis intervention includes: providing support during a relapse resulting in hospitalization, safety planning in abusive relationships, navigating options during an unplanned pregnancy, locating emergency housing options for client and child(ren), reporting to Child Protective Services when necessary, etcetera. Remote ongoing supportive services include: support navigating systems (healthcare, child welfare, higher learning); financial education around bank accounts, taxes, insurance; problem solving healthcare needs of client, child(ren), and pets; referrals to mental health and substance abuse treatment; locating long-term housing options for client and child(ren); developing relapse prevention plans around substance abuse and commercial sexual exploitation; connecting with legal resources; accessing appropriate educational and vocational services; coping ahead regarding interaction with toxic family or triggering dates like anniversaries and holidays. Access to this twenty-four hour support has been a lifeline for young survivors navigating society independently, and we receive multiple calls per week.

Learn more here, and consider sponsoring our pro bono mentoring program for survivors.

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