It has been a tremendous year at New Horizons. More young people are getting housing and jobs than ever before in our 41-year history. As we celebrate the successes of our young people leaving the streets, we want to thank you for being the community that has partnered with us to make such critical successes possible.
There are other, quieter stories that we also celebrate. One story involves a young man, Arnie, who spends a lot of time in my office trying to make sense of life. Arnie has been homeless since he was a young child: first with his family, and more recently on his own. He’s been addicted to alcohol for much of that time. Given the insecurity and trauma he’s experienced in his young life, it’s almost understandable that he would turn to addiction as an escape.
A few months ago, Arnie sat across from me and asked what it was like to be perfectly put together and happy all the time. I had to take a moment and think about his question before I answered. I told him that no one was perfectly put together and that I had to deal with my own hard times. This seemed to surprise him and it opened the door for us to have more honest conversations about the problems he faces and the ways he can choose to address them.
Everyone at New Horizons knows Arnie so when one of our volunteers planned a birthday party for him last month, it was well-attended by our staff. Arnie was surprised by the party and took a moment to tell us it was his first “sober birthday.” Arnie’s been sober for 90 days now. We celebrate the transformative power of his dedication to sobriety just as much as we would celebrate Arnie getting a job and securing stable housing, because every good decision matters when a young person is building a sustainable life beyond the streets.
At New Horizons, we believe that we are called to sit with young people and meet them where they are, no matter where that might be. When they are naked and hungry, we give them clothing and food, when they are sick, we make sure they have care, and when they are ready to leave the streets, we are right there to support them in securing housing and employment. Our success numbers are consistently among the best in the city…and it is because we focus on loving the young people we serve.
The phrase “it takes a village” may be cliché, but it happens to be true for the work that happens at New Horizons. We couldn’t do what we do without the community of volunteers and donors who help us serve the amazing young people who come through our doors. Thank you for being that community.
Thank you for being a part of our journey.
Youth Apprentice Terrance celebrating his new apartment
As a case manager, I often learn more from youth than they learn from me. A moment that sticks with me is when a young man named M.R. was turned down for a position because of his age. I expected him to be let down and frustrated – just as I was for him. But when I broke the news, he took it with grace, telling me “BB, things happen, it’s going to be okay.” I was taken aback at how this young man was able to immediately start thinking of the future, something all of us can remember to do.
Case Manager BB Jones
Youth with Brian on a hike to Rattlesnake Ledge
Over the past year I have been leading youth on trips into nature. From the lookout tower at the foot of Mt. Index and Mt. Baring to the waters of Lake Union and the Discovery Park Lighthouse, these opportunities have given youth pause to enjoy togetherness and rest in the quiet of God’s creation. On our most recent trip, some of the youth spontaneously started a conversation on addiction. They expressed how the wilderness filled them with hope and goodness and suggested that this was the true remedy to the cycle of addiction. I was able to share that spirituality is what ultimately replaces addiction; finding meaning and a connection to something larger.
Chaplain Brian Garrison
New Horizons Youth Jesse celebrating renting his first apartment
A memory that sticks with me is my time with a young man who would often sit with me and tell me about his goals. Some days he moved faster than the speed of light, gathering paperwork, researching school information, and filling out job applications. Some days I would see him plopped on the couch, sighing deeply with eyes closed, and I would give him encouragement. One day he came in with the biggest smile ever, and said “Guess what?” I listened with excitement as he told me he got a job that he loved and finally got housing in Seattle. We both did a “happy dance”, and I told him howI expected nothing less. He set goals for himself, and he went over the mountain and through the valley to accomplish them.
Administrative Coordinator Tiara Atkins
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