Sidney came to Doorways after far too many tragedies touched her young life. For years, she watched her mother struggle with multiple sclerosis, ultimately losing her life to the disease when Sidney was only 15. Sidney’s father, who had spent decades in and out of homelessness, tried his best to be there for her, but his chronic instability meant that he could not provide Sidney with a safe home or the care she needed. For a short time, Sidney found a home with her grandmother, grandfather and cousins. But that too fell apart after Sidney was abused in the home. That was when Sidney’s high school guidance counselor told her about Doorways and everything changed.
The Doorways’ team welcomed Sidney into the Family Home in spring of 2016 to participate in Pathways for Youth, a program tailored to support teens escaping homelessness while also transitioning from youth to adulthood. She had turned 18 a week earlier. With shelter, housing and targeted support services, Doorways would work with Sidney as she finished her senior year of high school; all the while helping her develop the skills and resources she would need to succeed as a young adult on her own.
Right away, Sidney’s Children’s Counselor began to work with staff at her high school to ensure that her transition to senior year would be smooth and that she would have everything she needed to succeed. To start helping Sidney address the many traumas she had been through, including the loss of her mother and the abuse by a family member, the Counselor offered a range of art and behavioral therapy. Sidney was soon able to express her feelings and develop healthy coping strategies for times when she became stressed or anxious about the future.
Over the next few months, Sidney worked with her Financial Counselor to learn how to manage money, pay bills on time and build savings. And as graduation approached, Sidney worked with the Housing Locator to identify her housing needs and start the search process. In May, Sidney experienced two major milestones – prom and graduation! But nothing compared to the day she walked into her apartment for the first time.
Currently in Doorways’ HomeStart Supportive Housing Program, Sidney receives home visits from her Client Services Counselor and Financial Counselor on a regular basis. But now they focus on the skills she needs for her new stage in life, such as how to interview, secure a job, and be a good tenant. Sidney’s brighter future is here, and she is not letting go.