Our Covenant House Alaska family celebrates as we send one of our incredible youth off to college for the Fall semester! Contributed by Program Coordinator, Nicole Stuemke
Addi grew up in the Las Vegas area in a home where she endured years of neglect and abuse. When she was old enough, she moved to Alaska where she had extended family, hoping for things to be different. She wasn’t here long when she discovered that the dysfunction she had grown up with ran deep in her family. Alaska was not the home she had dreamed of.
Luckily for us, Addi found her way to Covenant House Alaska. She got a job within days of landing at our emergency shelter at the Youth Engagement Center. She was encouraged to apply for our Rights of Passage (ROP) program. A transitional living program for young adults, and was accepted quickly. Addi moved into ROP and kept working and saving. In a stable environment, surrounded by adults who were excited to support her dreams, Addi began to make big plans.
For Addi, Alaska never became home. She was searching for the place that was right for her to put down roots and find community. In the meantime, she embraced every opportunity to play sports and stay active, which is her passion. She loved to hike, bike and play ultimate frisbee.
Addi worked with ROP staff, and staff at our partner agencies Nine Star Education & Employment and Cook Inlet Tribal Council, her Covenant House Alaska Permanency Navigator and her employer at Seeds of Change to find a community college in Massachusetts that fit her educational goals. Wisely, she took advantage of every opportunity and resource made available to her, and managed to find a Permanency Navigator in Massachusetts who would help her find housing and access the services she would need there to keep succeeding.
Off to College!
A month before her departure to college, she reached out to ROP Program coordinator Nicole Stuemke and asked if Nicole could fly with her to Massachusetts to help her get settled. Nicole was thrilled (as any proud parent would be!) to be invited to support Addi in such a momentous step. So, together they packed up and headed East. Once they got there, they met with Addi’s new Permanency Navigator and Housing Case Manager, and began work on getting her state residency, benefits, and housing essentials. The next day and half was spent looking at the community college and touring two other colleges and transitional living programs. Nicole instantly knew Addi was in good hands.
Today, Addi is in her second week of college on the beginning of her journey to pursue sports medicine or physical therapy. She is working in a local bakery and loving her new housing situation. In the end, it was hard to say goodbye to Addi. However; we will stay in touch and continue to champion Addi like the proud family that we are.
Addi is a beautiful example of what is possible when a community comes together around a young person and lifts them up to achieve their own dreams. We are so proud of her and cannot wait to see where she goes from here.
Celebrate a young person’s potential today by visiting coveycares.org