Youth Empowerment Society

Teenage stories

Kevin’s Story

This is a true story, the images and identity are fictitious to protect his privacy

Teenager - Youth Empowerment Society

At the age of 14 Kevin was already homeless. He started accessing the Victoria Youth Empowerment Society’s Alliance Club downtown to get a break from the streets, gain access to meals and a shower and eventually became comfortable enough to talk to the Mental Health Worker. He expressed that he was tired of street life, tired of seeing hallucinations which to him were very real and extremely scary.

Keven used Ketamine (a horse Tranquilizer), smoked marijuana daily and also took exstasy when it was available.  He preference of all of these was Ketamine and believed “if it can be used for horses it must be safe for me”.

As it turns out Kevin was a victim of childhood sexual abuse by a family member, he had no idea where his biological father was and his Mother had moved away from Victoria leaving him to fend for himself.  While on the streets he was once again a victim of sexual assault by two street males. To complicate matters Kevin was also diagnosed as Schizophrenic and due to his drug use the combination lead to increased severely destructive behaviour. Kevin began self-harming and cut his arms to badly that is alarmed any potential employer in giving him a chance of a job.  When he would seek help his drug addiction was viewed as the cause of the behavior and as such his Mental Health concerns were not addressed.

Eventually Kevin engaged in a process of developing a plan for change with the help at YES.

After accessing the Youth Detox, he started to attend the Life Skills Program. With guidance, he applied and received disability income, to which he was grateful, however he wanted to learn to live as normal a life as possible and set a goal to obtain work for a living.

He set out with his own version of a business card for yard clean up and doing od jobs and actually started to accumulate some customers. He accomplished this on his own, with no vehicle, no advertising and no equipment.

Over the course of the next year he went back to Alternative School and received his “Dogwood” Degree.

Kevin explored his mental illness, the connection to his drug use and confronted the history of the sexual abuse and abandonment. His symptoms of Schizophrenia still exist; however, he states he now balances the ups and downs with proper food and exercise and has successfully stayed drug free. He creatively tattooed his arms to camouflage the scarring and has been fully employed for the past two years.

The most powerful ingredient in Kevin’s story is that someone was there when he was ready for the change.

At Victoria’s Youth Empowerment Society, there is HOPE.

Teenager - Youth Empowerment Society

The most powerful ingredient in Kevin’s story is that someone was there when he was ready for the change.

Services offered by YES include:

youth and family counselling, community outreach, after hours pager access, referrals, assessments, specialized interventions, a missing youth system, assistance with health issues, advocacy, meeting basic needs (shelter, food, clothing, hygiene etc.), emergency crisis response (including emergency/crisis shelter services), community development, life skills training, independent living support/transitional planning, consultation and assistance with issues related to addictions, mental health, employments, housing, education, etc.

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