First Place For Youth
Dec 14, 2022
“First Place has helped me really grow as a person.“
Meet Adelaida, a First Place For Youth program participant who loves to write and dreams of working at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles. Adelaida joined the My First Place™ program in March 2021 and says having her own apartment has given her the freedom to breathe and explore options to find her path in life.
“Without First Place, I would probably still be trying to figure it out all on my own, and that’s harder to do because you don’t necessarily have a good support system,” Adelaida said, adding that most young people her age have family support to depend on. “I wasn’t able to be a teenager because of certain home circumstances, I had to be more of an adult. But now that I have a stable home, I’m able to let go of that a little bit and just enjoy living.”
After turning 21, Adelaida said she was at risk of homelessness but moved into a My First Place Transitional Housing Plus Program (THP-Plus) apartment available for foster youth up to the age of 25.
“Being in My First Place allowed me to focus on my mental health since I don’t have to really worry too much about rent and bills,” she said. “I’m not the same person that I was when I came in. I definitely changed a lot and I think always knowing that I had this stable home environment, that really helped.”
Adelaida’s First Place team has supported her on the road to achieving her goals, but it took some time to build trust in her relationship with her Youth Advocate.
“At first, I was guarded because I did not like social workers. But, as time went on, we really connected and we had really good talks— she was always there for me when I needed her,” said Adelaida. “Rachel has always been supportive of my plans and she makes sure that I have all the information I need to succeed. She has become a person I look up to and a person that I really enjoy talking to. And a person I can see myself like going to if I need help, so our relationship has really grown as time went on.”
While she studies Computer Science/IT at Pasadena Community College, Adelaida dreams of a career focused on environmental issues and has applied for a job at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles where she hopes to build connections in the field.
In the meantime, Adelaida has been tutoring and mentoring K-12 children at a paid internship at 826LA. Adelaida went through the program in high school and credits it with helping her discover a love of writing. Now she’s grateful for the opportunity to give back to her community while earning a wage and gaining valuable work experience.
Hats off to Adelaida as she follows her curiosity on her path in life and gives back to her community! We know that her determination will carry her far!
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