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A Diamond in the Rough



A Diamond in the Rough


 It was 2015, I was 23 years old– my feelings were hurt.  I was feeling lost. I couldn’t believe that I was on the verge of being HOMELESS. 

Since 1992, the year that I was born, I had always had a place to call home.  I lived with my Mom, Aunt, Grandmother, brother and cousins in a loving family home in Southwest, Washington, D.C.  In my big family we did everything together.  We ate dinner together, went to school, and enjoyed music together.  My family life had always been a world of peace and joy and NOW it was being radically  disrupted.  

On February 2, 2008 everything began to unravel.  It was the day I lost my best friend. She was my Aunt. Biology caused us to share DNA but more importantly we shared one another’s companionship, a love of music, and Whitney Houston. She loved it when I sang and now she was gone.  When my Aunt left this earth she took my love of music and singing away with her. Losing my Aunt was my first experience with death and it was traumatic.  

Things got worse for my family in 2015. My Grandmother got sick and died.  In previous years, my Grandmother had renovated our home so that our large family could be as comfortable as possible in it. She had refinanced our home to cover the renovations. My Mother and my Aunt could no longer afford our home; the bank foreclosed on my wonderful family home.

My brother, Mother, and I were able to move to an apartment temporarily but it was expensive.  When my Mother realized that she could not afford the apartment any longer she informed me that she and my younger brother had been approved to enter a family shelter. The bad news was that the shelter  would not accept me because I was over 18.  

My Aunt let me stay in her new apartment for a while, but the house was full with other relatives so I could only stay for a short time.  Then a few friends allowed me to stay in their homes for short periods of time. I made a few new friends who also allowed me to stay with them short term.  From my new friends I tried to learn from them what I could do to prevent my own homelessness.  I learned about Covenant House and went into their workforce readiness program.  While completing the workforce readiness program, God blessed me with a new best friend.  She told me about Sasha Bruce Youthwork and encouraged me to go to them for support.  I was hesitant to go because I was so hurt by my situation.  I felt lonely and didn’t want to tell my story to anyone else again.  I didn’t want anyone judging me based upon my situation. Because I trusted my God given blessing of friendship I went.

My new best friend guided me correctly.  I went to the Sasha Bruce Youthwork Drop In Center.  The staff there welcomed me like family.  They were so willing to help me that I felt that I could trust them with my personal information.  The Sasha Bruce Staff worked with me for about a month to a find a job.  After I got a job the staff continued to work with me. They helped restore my world of peace and joy and help me clear my mind of overwhelming stress and anxiety.  Today, I feel restored.  I share an apartment with my Mom and brother. Now I am on the payroll at Sasha Bruce Youthwork.  I spend each and every day helping homeless and runaway youth on the verge find a place of peace and joy the same way that Sasha Bruce staff helped me. 

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