Published on August 22nd, 2012 | by Joe Heinbaugh
* Editor Note- I had the chance a couple of weeks ago to visit Outreach Inc. I meet a couple of the staff and teens and it is truly doing good for the homeless teens here in Indy.
Outreach Inc was started in 1996 and has the goal of equipping and empowering homeless teens and young adults (ages 14-24) to exit street life.
Here is a story of the type of impact that Outreach has on the local community.
By Jenny Mullins
Daysia* was adopted by her grandmother and grandfather at a very young age. She grew up knowing very little about her birth parents, and to this day, does not have a relationship with her father or mother. Daysia enjoyed a relatively stable home environment until her grandfather died around the time Daysia started high school.
Left alone to raise a child, her grandmother found it difficult to cope with the changes and became increasingly distant, harsh, and unavailable to her. As a result, Daysia left her grandmother’s home and began living with her boyfriend. Since that time, she has lived in several places with different friends and family.
When I met Daysia in September of 2011, she requested little of me. She was quiet, reserved, and somewhat introverted. As I continued to meet with her at school, she would tell me stories about getting into arguments with others at whatever random house she was living in, to protect her belongings or to claim what little remained of a needed commodity. Slowly, experientially, Daysia began to realize that I could help her obtain food and clothes so that she could put energy towards graduating from high school and other future aspirations.
As the school year progressed, Daysia began to see me as an advocate. She began to come to me with more specific requests, like asking me to write letters of advocacy for her so she could receive consideration for financial waivers. (She had accrued a variety of fees that could have very easily prevented her from graduating without advocacy) In addition, I partnered with several school staff members to ensure Daysia understood the barriers she needed to address in order to graduate. As we worked together to create small steps and goals, Daysia’s sense of daily pressures were relieved and she became slightly more extroverted.
When she stopped by for bus passes or to use laundry facilities, she began to engage with other clients and staff at Outreach. She attended every social gathering offered to Outreach clients and, although she was still initially quiet with strangers, Daysia did not hesitate to participate and engage with others to celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas, and eventually her own graduation with her Outreach family!
Daysia did graduate from high school and plans to attend Ivy Tech in the fall with a focus on becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant. I am very proud of Daysia for overcoming a variety of obstacles and sticking with her desire to graduate! She has accomplished much under duress and can now press on into the future!
*Daysia’s real name has been changed for privacy reasons.
Contact Information so you can help!
Street Address: 2822 East New York Street, Indianapolis, IN 46201
Mailing Address: PO Box 11416 Indianapolis, IN 46201-0416
Toll Free Hotline: 877-686-3818