Read Youth Stories
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I’ve been in and out of foster homes my whole life. For as long as I can remember, my mom has struggled with addiction and other mental health problems. It was a constant cycle of her being able to take care of me for a bit, then not, then coming back for me. I never really had a home.
I received therapy through YSB a few years ago as a 20-year-old university student living downtown. Despite having everything so together on the surface (I was a full-time Health Science student maintaining a 9+/10 GPA and working part time), I was so severely depressed.
"I always new I was gay in a sense, but was too scared to come out."
When Jordan was 13 he started to use drugs, which led to him hanging around the streets at night.
“I was a loner, I stayed to myself — it was really hard to make friends with people from high school. My mom kicked me out…”
“I spent the next two and a half years abusing substances to avoid thinking about all the pain... I even pretended that I didn’t have a daughter.”
A Kid I Know
“He tried to get a job, but no one would hire a thirteen year old. He started living under a bridge in downtown Ottawa.”
Today, my former life seems strange to me, as if I had not lived it. But I did, and it's good to never forget it.
Alicia’s mother started using drugs, which led to the Children’s Aid Society (CAS) being involved with her family. She was removed from her home after about four months of involvement and placed in a caregiver’s home.
“Before I knew it there were a number of us all using needles. Looking back, it seems so messed up…”
“Her mother decided that she couldn’t handle her and that she didn’t want her anymore — leaving her to be put in a group home…”
“It was five days after I got stopped by the police for being intoxicated in public, and two days after having my parents search for me in a forest…”
“I could have a life that wasn't all about confusion, sadness and unnecessary family responsibility.”
“My behaviours and actions were spiraling…. I had tried to harm myself many times and was beyond the point of helping myself on my own.”
“Getting involved with Harm Reduction at Youth Services Bureau was a change of direction in my (then) directionless life.”
“She was nervous the first time she came to YSB’s Drop-in, which is a fairly common reaction. ‘I was like, who the hell are all these people?’…”
Story of a Country Boy
I started out a young man in a small country town. Life was good, but early on things began to fall apart.
Elaine was about 12 years old when her life started turning upside down. She had been living with her dad since the age of 10, when her mother walked out on her.
My home was my jail. I lived in a rural area—very isolated. My father was abusive to my mom, brothers and me.