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Meet Gemma, an impossible dreamer.

Wind Client and Vista del Lago Class of 2017 graduate

“If you told me at the beginning of 9th grade–heck, even at the start of 12th, that I’d make it this far, I’d have laughed at the absurdity of your faith in me. There was always this timer in my head. “You won’t live to be 18,” it ticked. When that milestone passed, “you won’t live to graduate” was the next whisper. But here I am, diploma in hand and college classes upcoming. I don’t think I would have made it without the support of Wind Youth. Throughout most of high school, I had nowhere to call home. You probably couldn’t tell, as I was always that one kid who cheered and smiled and had a seemingly endless reserve of positive energy. But after the last bell rung, that changed; I went back to people who abused me or neglected me, try hard as I might to prove I was worth being in their family. Midway through 12th grade, I found myself not only homeless, but houseless–and it was here I was informed Wind Youth had a bed open. And for the last four months, I’ve had a home, with people who care about me and want me to succeed, who support me through my struggles and love me for who I am. As I look to the future, college and jobs and an apartment, I find myself not scoffing at such impossible dreams, but planning and looking forward to them.”

My name is Gemma Gabbett, and Wind Youth both saved my life and helped make it worth living.

 

See also: http://www.affordablecolleges.com/resources/lgbtq-college-resources/

Permanent Supportive Housing Program Successes

It’s been almost a year since our permanent supportive housing program opened and we have seen many successes!

Our case manager has shared smiles, laughs with all the young people as they headed out to meet goals on their case plans.  Finding employment, enrolling in school, getting connected to health care, and assisting youth in securing and maintaining benefits are just a few examples of completed goals that positively affected the youths’ moods and overall situations, keeping them housed and safely inside.  The purpose of supportive housing is that clients feel supported and we definitely can share that are clients are happier and healthier with the support they get from the Wind case manager.

In August alone, three youth enrolled in GED programs and are working diligently to complete their degree. All of these youth have experienced a lot of struggle in their life, so this milestone is a true achievement. They are fighting addiction, CPS involvement, and years of trauma from living on the streets.

Because Wind’s program is built on the model of harm reduction and unconditional love, we help youth reach their goals by allowing them to focus on their accomplishments rather than the stigma associated with their addiction or trauma.