Every young person who walks through our doors is introduced to our Journey to Independence. It’s a five-step program that takes youth through a process starting with Discovery, Stability and Growth and culminating in Launch and Independence. We understand that this journey is not linear, and we support our youth as they grapple with ups and downs. Our goal is to meet each young person where they are and journey with them.
Sahara is part of our Launch program which is designed to support youth as they get older and are working on sustaining their independence. If you read her initial intake form, you’d note she’s been labeled a runaway, experienced abuse, homelessness, and was pregnant at 15. What you might not read is that she’s focused, whip-smart, and lights up any room she walks into
Sahara came to Found Village as a young teen craving stability, safety and trusted adults. She had seen so much abuse, so much violence and was angry and withdrawn. We showed her she could be safe, and we could be trusted, and we waited for her to believe us. And this is what the Discovery Phase is all about. It’s worth noting that establishing relationships takes time especially when the young person has experienced abuse. This is why our program isn’t linear and doesn’t time out after a certain period. Youth are not moved to the next phase until they are ready to do so.
Sahara, now 19, recently told her coaches that she’s focused on “stepping into grown woman mode.” And that she is. She’s caring for her mental health and using fitness as an outlet for life’s stressors. She’s got her own apartment and she just stopped by the office last week to show us her new car. To top it all off, just this month she received word that she passed her nursing exams.
Her grit and determination have propelled her forward. Ask her how she’s picked up the pieces, she’ll share her faith. Ask her who’s been cheering her on each step of the way, and she’ll say Found Village. She says she’s “building a life her son can depend on.” We couldn’t agree more.
We see the Launch program growing substantially to better meet the needs of young adults like Sahara. We have a clear vision for the program’s expansion and we’re seeking funding to make it a reality! Until then, we’ll continue to use the tools and resources we have to walk alongside our youth at whatever age, or stage they are experiencing. No matter what.