Dear Friend, 

I was in a dark place and needed something to change. 

Now I see there are so many opportunities to make it happen, for anyone. 

A couple of years ago, I was living in my car. Now I’m tending to my health, living in my own apartment, working an internship, taking college classes, and building my own business. 

I’ve seen in my family how not tending to yourself can destroy you. My biggest goal in life is to be a motivation to my little sisters so that we can be better. When I heard they recently enrolled in college, I was so happy I broke down and cried. Even after everything I’ve been through, someone sees me for what I’m worth. And that’s all I need. I’m motivating others, and that motivates me. 

Anyone can be great. Everyone should be great.

When I was growing up, in another state, that greatness was hard to see. In school I got bullied for being articulate. 

Just after my seventh birthday, my sisters and I went into foster care. Over the years I was in 136 foster homes. An adoption attempt didn’t work, either. More than once, I was abused. 

Since my early teens, I’ve attempted suicide three times. I’ve learned I have health conditions adding to my challenges. These were things I’ve been dealing with all my life, and nobody took the time to figure it out with me. 

It was still tough after foster care, working two jobs and going to school full time. I became homeless after having a mental breakdown. With my two puppies, I was living in my car. Miserable. A friend suggested moving to Portland to make a change. After staying in different shelters here, I was looking for resources that would suit me and I learned about Outside In. 

I first came to the clinic two years ago. I never liked or trusted doctors before, but I like the one I have at Outside In. He’s nice. He doesn’t make me feel uncomfortable. With the knowledge behind the questions he asked, even during that first visit, I began to feel better. 

I started working with case managers, and I enrolled in the Job Readiness Training program. It wasn’t a straight path. I got into an abusive relationship. I ended up fearing for my life, and I left. But I came back to Outside In. 

After I completed the job training program, I interviewed for a full-time, paid internship—and landed it! I get to do outreach and community education work with Forest Park Conservancy while I learn how to navigate the corporate world. 

Meanwhile, my case manager helped me to apply for housing, and to find it. I got my own apartment a little over two months ago. It has a washer and a dryer and a dishwasher. I feel like such an adult! 

I’m 24 now, and I’m taking a full community college schedule. After my internship I want to transfer to Portland State University and study accounting and psychology. 

I want to be a renaissance woman. I want to run a business in every field: industry, health care, finances. I also know about fashion, and my dream is to one day open my own custom apparel shop. (To help get me through, I play the saxophone, too.) 

All along the way, the staff at Outside In had my back. They are amazing people. I’ve had bad days but never one bad day with anybody at Outside In. I see how they offer so many services to meet people where they are with what they need. I’m super grateful for all the opportunities and resources available. 

I’m sharing all of this with you because I want you to know your investment in Outside In makes a difference. Everyone here is going out of their way to lead people who need help in the right direction. By making a gift to Outside In, you help to make positive change possible. Please give today.