At 1:30 am 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. When Jared said “Yes,” the driver knew what number to call.

Jillian, YouthCare’s Safe Place Coordinator, took the call and met Jared downtown in the middle of the night. She came bearing her Safe Place kit – a blanket, a juice box, and granola bars. She has learned through experience that young people’s basic survival needs must be met before even talking about shelter and safety. “He was wearing inadequate clothing for the weather, hadn’t eaten in a while, and needed water,” Jillian said.

Jillian brought Jared to YouthCare’s Adolescent Emergency Shelter, where he is working with counselors and his family to figure out the best place for him to stabilize. He has re-enrolled in high school at the Seattle Public School Interagency Academy located at YouthCare’s James W. Ray Orion Center. He receives mental health counseling regularly, and just recently was accepted into a three-month internship/job training program.

Jillian and the Shelter staff are impressed by what a compassionate and caring person Jared is – he supports his fellow residents when they are having a tough time and has a great sense of humor. Make no mistake though – he’s no pushover, as he is well aware of the type of environment he needs in order to stay healthy and succeed, and consistently makes positive choices. “Jared is an incredible self-advocate,” says Jillian.

Thanks to National Safe Place, and our partnership with King County Metro, Jared found safety and stability at YouthCare.