Without Covenant House I have no idea where I would be today. I do know, however, that I would not be parenting my son and living on my own, and I certainly wouldn’t be as hopeful about my future as I am today.
From a very early age, I was homeless. We spent most of our nights sleeping in parks, under bridges, or in a car with my family. This way of life was not safe, stable or supportive. My mother tried to hold things together. She started prostituting and we spent much of our life running from an abusive father.
By the age of 18, I was still homeless and did a lot of couch hopping. I finally ended up with a friend who lived in a cabin with no running water, no electricity, and an outside port-a-potty for the bathroom. It was there that I discovered I was pregnant with my ex-boyfriend’s child. I knew I needed help. I found Covenant House.
When I reached out to Covey, they reached right back and helped me overcome numerous barriers in my life. For one thing, my life experiences up to this point had taught me not put any trust in people. It took time to get to the point where I could trust the staff and for them to convince me that they truly did want the best for me. What I found at Covenant House was genuine care and compassion. They offered kindness, stability, support, medical care, resources I didn’t even know existed for me, and a lot of counseling which I needed more than I would ever have admitted at the time.
I had many tough decisions to make, like whether or not I’d be able to parent my precious little one. As I struggled with this and other decisions, the staff remained by my side every step of the way to help work through them.
At times it felt as if I were following in my mother’s footsteps and I’d get so discouraged it hurt, but I knew that there is a vast difference between my mother and me. With the help of Passage House, I got back on my feet. They gave me more than I could ever have asked for. They helped me build a resume, fill out applications, learn good parenting skills and I even learned how to cook. I eventually got a receptionist job and started saving money to put towards essential needs.
Covenant House gave me hope, the ability to trust again, and the opportunity to see a better future for my son and myself. If I could have one wish, it would be to be the best mother possible for him. I know now that I might be my mother’s child, but I don’t have to be my mother. I never want my son to go hungry, to ever feel unloved, or to ever have to fend for himself until he is absolutely ready. I am determined that he will not have the life I did.
Covenant House is a wonderful organization that has given, and continues to give, hope to thousands of homeless youth each year. Without this organization, I am pretty positive that there would be a lot more crime and teen suicide in Alaska. The staff at Covenant House genuinely cares about the youth of this community, and not just the ones who seek their services. As one of the youth who has needed the services they provide, I can tell you that there is nothing more amazing than people who truly care for you as an individual. And they can only do this, I understand, because of the wonderful support from the community. Thank you so much.
*Taylor’s name has been altered in consideration of her and her family.