Youth Stories

  • Stock image of young woman barista

    Rebecca: The Courage to be Confident

    by Melinda Giovengo, PhD
  • Stock image of young man reading a book

    Tony: Ready to Move Forward

    Young people come to YouthCare for many reasons. Some exit foster care without a place to go. Others flee from family abuse or rejection. But many come to us simply because their families are trapped in cycles of poverty—pushed to the margins of our economy and struggling to survive without an adequate safety net to help them bounce back from small or big challenges. Read more

  • YouthCare Image

    Jessica & Carlos: Searching for Independence

    Carlos and Jessica first walked into YouthCare’s University District Youth Center (UDYC) with teeth chattering from the cold. It had snowed the night before, and by the time UDYC opened, their shoes were soaked and their toes frozen. Read more

  • YouthCare Image

    A Recipe for Success at YouthCare

    You might think that growing and cooking with fresh vegetables sounds like something many young people would avoid. But for Thalia, a young woman who sought YouthCare’s support at age 16, this opportunity was life-changing. Though her love of cooking flourished during her time as a kitchen intern at YouthCare’s James W. Read more

  • YouthCare Image

    Discovering a Path: A Tile Success Story

    Before she joined YouthCare’s Tile Project, Melanie had hit rock bottom. She had been working as a nanny, making good money. Then she got really sick. She lost her job, and because she lost her job, she lost her apartment. She didn't know what to do with herself. Read more

  • YouthCare Image

    Finding Safety Through Safe Place

    Recently, YouthCare’s Safe Place Coordinator, Liz Speigel, received a call from one of our school partners in Seattle: Read more

  • YouthCare's James W. Ray Orion Center

    Making Great Strides

    LaShawnta first came through the doors of YouthCare’s James W. Ray Orion Center in 2013, interested in the Barista Training and Education Program, as well as GED services. She was homeless and struggling with severe mental health issues as a result of a life filled with trauma. Read more

  • Photo of Mark

    On the Streets and Preparing for Life

    When Mark walked into his first class at Seattle Central Community College, he was still homeless, and convinced he didn’t belong. “I didn’t think I could succeed,” he told us. “I didn’t think school was a place for me. Read more

  • youth working on tile mosaic

    Putting the Pieces Together: A Tile Success Story

    20-year-old Alicia* was living in her car with her partner and her dog, after leaving home because of family conflict exacerbated by economic constraints. Alicia dropped out of school after completing 8th grade and had never held a job. Read more

  • Local Starbucks managers help homeless youth prepare for job interviews

    Learning from the Best: Starbucks' Interview Program

    For nine years, volunteers from Starbucks Coffee Company have been helping us prepare young people for life by conducting mock interviews with students in our Barista Training and Education Program, a partnership between YouthCare and FareStart. Read more

  • Photo of Serena who learned employment skills at YouthCare

    Grande Ambitions: A Barista's Story

    To her customers at Starbucks, Serena is the bubbly, friendly barista who always remembers their usual order. Her coworkers marvel at how many regulars she knows. Every once in a while, she’ll coax one of them into trying, say, a caramel macchiato – just for fun. Read more

  • Safe Place logo

    Jared: Metro Bus Leads to Safety

    At 1:30am on December 31st, 2011, 17 year old Jared was out of options. His chaotic home life led him to realize that he could no longer stay with his family.  He wandered, unsure of where to go.  When he finally got on a King County Metro bus, the driver took one look at him and asked if he needed help. Read more

  • Calvin's photo

    Calvin: Off the Streets and Preparing for College

    Calvin sounds like a typical, if overachieving, college-bound freshman. He graduated last spring with a prestigious four-year Rotary scholarship. He was the captain of his soccer team and counts meeting the owner of the Seattle Storm as one of the highlights of his year. But college, and even high school, were not always in Calvin’s future. Read more

  • Cassy's photo

    Cassy: Employment Leads to Independence

    When Cassy first walked into ISIS House, YouthCare’s transitional living program for LGBTQ youth 18-21, “she looked terrified.” Her home life had been unstable and violent. She was taught few positive life skills and there was certainly no talk of building a future. As a deaf woman, she faced further challenges. Read more