I wanted independence and stability. I wanted to belong. I found Outside In.

Dear Friend,

When you have a sickle cell anemia crisis, you feel like your blood and bones are on fire. I was a junior in high school, what happened to me was out of my control. After time in the hospital, including a transfusion, going back to live with family or friends meant dealing with trauma or domestic violence or substance abuse or homophobia. Every place I went to stay was bad for a different reason. At the same time, I was becoming self-aware, questioning my identity, learning about LGBTQ. But I didn’t know where to go. It was scary. 

A young human with black glasses and short hair facing the camera with a smile

I wanted independence and stability. I wanted to belong. I found Outside In. 

I dreamed of a career in coding or game design, something creative but with structure. I had tried other places, but nobody seemed equipped to deal with someone my age and with my problems.

At Outside In, they understood what I needed. They helped me to build work experience, things to put on a resume, skills—a film project, and a hands-on microenterprise internship where we got to work with plants and sustainable agriculture. They provided housing that worked for me and nutritious food choices every day. They set up health insurance at the clinic for my blood work.

On that solid ground, with Outside In’s help, I applied to one of the most rigorous software development training programs in the country, and I earned scholarships to cover my expenses. It was intensive and exhausting. 

Learning how to code, you need to network socially. I had a hard time with those assignments, but Outside In connected me with a mentor in the tech industry who also identifies as gender non-binary, which was so helpful, and I graduated on time.

Last spring, I got my first job as a Development Operations Engineer contractor for Nike, and I moved into my own apartment! I think about travel, and maybe writing a book someday. Thanks to Outside In, I finally have stability for myself and I see a whole world ahead of me.

Please make a gift to Outside In today. Your gift transforms lives like mine, and thousands of others. The chances Outside In provides for learning, growth, health, and stability are only possible because kind people like you take action. Thank you.