After my first semester at COM, I experienced rough times. Basic expenses to live in Marin were much above my financial ability; so much so, I got to the point of almost dropping out of college. I didn’t see how I would be able to keep going since I couldn’t pay for my dental care needs, or for an eye exam and eyeglasses which I needed to be able to study. I was extremely stressed because I didn’t understand my homework and I was deeply lonely with no one to talk to about all my emotions. My life felt terrible and I didn’t know how to deal with all these challenges all by myself, with no family or support. It was really overwhelming for me living alone, studying a foreign language, going to college and working.
Featured Youth Story – Larkin [Read More]
Larkin was 22 years old, and a full-time Sociology Major at College of Marin (COM), when we first met. She was working over 30 hours weekly at Starbucks where her shift began at 4:30 in the morning. Larkin was totally self-supporting and managing her entire life on her own, in addition to caring for her parents who had major health and financial issues.
At COM, Larkin was a member of ALPHA SIGMA GAMMA (ASG) HONOR SOCIETY where she held a leading role as the Community Service Coordinator. In this role, she brought together all the clubs at COM to work together on behalf of students who were struggling with stress, mental health, lack of housing, and/or were feeling left out, isolated or different.
My name is Jesus, and I am 21. I work with a wonderful organization by the name of Ambassadors of Hope and Opportunity (AHO), the only nonprofit in Marin helping homeless youth ages 18 to 25 like me. My parents immigrated to the U.S. when I was a baby and I’ve lived in San Rafael ever since I can remember. Even though I’ve been told I’m Mexican by my family throughout my life, I can’t help but feel like I’m more American than Mexican. This is not because I have any problem with my heritage, but rather because all my friends, memories, and achievements have been here in Marin County. I’ve had my fair share of bad experiences, as I know we all have, but I love the place that I live and I want to help myself improve and help others as well. Now that I’m old enough to understand how important it is for me to heal myself from the past traumas in my family, I’ve started working with AHO and Zara, AHO’s Founder, to make that happen.
Featured Youth Story – Rowden [Read More]
I first became homeless when I left an abusive relationship with a man I planned to marry. We met and lived in San Francisco. After dealing with years of abuse, I had the courage to leave. With no place to go, I first went to an adult shelter. I was only there for few days before they sent me to a youth shelter called the Larkin Street, that was almost like a prison. I stuck it out and stayed at Larkin Street for 3 ½ months. It was tough. Every day was challenging. Then one day, some friends I met in the Castro, who lived in San Rafael, heard about my situation and offered me a place in their home.
Once in Marin, I did not want to burden my friends, so I started looking for more resources to improve my situation. I went to the San Rafael City Hall and got a mailbox. There I was told to call 211 to find out what services were available. 211 guided me to Homeward Bound and AHO.
My life goal is to continue with my career in the medical field, which I now know I can do. As my life continues to get on track, I want to be part of the AHO Youth Team to give back for the help AHO has provided and help inspire youth like me.[Read More]
The AHO organization is very unique because they actually help! They are very dedicated to helping youth and really follow through with everything they say they are going to do for you. [Read More]
Being a homeless youth, my counselor referred me to Zara, AHO’s Founder for help. Zara met me within a day after my call, and has been helping me so much with many things right from the first day we met..[Read More]
Featured Youth Story – Nick
Guitarist and singer Nick Petty understands the positive impact that music can make on people. Music is one of the ways he pulled himself together after a troubled youth that included depression, addiction and brief incarceration…
Today, with AHO as a foundation, I am continuing to build my confidence (my peers call me the butterfly), and I now know that I can achieve my personal life goals and create the future I want for myself. AHO was there for me and believed in me when I needed it most. Read More
Calling AHO for help is something I will forever remember. It did more to and for me on my path of healing and reaching my dreams because of AHO. I was treated like an intelligent, capable young man with many gifts to share with the world. Read More
Being in AHO really helped me open my eyes and helped me get on track for what I want to do with my life. With AHO support, I am planning on going to school for graphic design and then want to open my own collection of art galleries all over the United States. Read More
I am very connected with AHO and am proud to be an ambassador for them. It is an amazing program, and through AHO, I am able to see hope and opportunity for my future compared to a year ago I only doubted my future and my ability to change it. Read More
What I want my future to look like is now possible with AHO. I have hope and the support I need to go to school to become a medical assistant and provide for my family to be the best mother that I can be thanks to Zara and AHO. Read More
AHO had the Youth Connect where I got all the help I needed in one place on one day. This was the help I needed to get back on track. AHO continues help me and I am very grateful. At the Youth Connect, I realized that I wanted to help other homeless youth… Read More
I completed more school courses, found my own apartment and bought my own car…I’m proud of the way that things have turned out for me, but my journey is far from over. I’m going to keep moving forward, but I learned not to look back. Read More
It’s been a bumpy journey, but it’s getting smoother as I grow and learn. I practice positive thinking by telling myself “I will be successful” 3 times everyday. I believe by doing this, things are more likely to go my way. Read More
The impact on me was profound; I was six years old and never knew what it would be like to have someone so powerful in my life disappear in an instant. The whole experience has made me realize how precious time is… Read More
Through these 3 life-altering events, I was now taking ownership of my life and how I viewed myself. I started making different choices. I also accepted responsibility for the consequences of those choices… Read More
Amy has been involved with the Ambassadors project for 3 1/2 years as peer mentor, Youth Ambassador of Hope, and spokesperson of her experience. She was a member of the AHO planning committee for the “Building Youth Leaders Now, and for the Future. Read More
I just found out recently that I was accepted at UC Berkeley, which is a dream come true. AHO will help me with scholarships and whatever I might need to be successful on this new path. Read More
I admire how she even had the drive and inspiration to start AHO to help young people like little old me, and give us a fighting chance at life. She understands that we didn’t ask for the circumstances we are in.
With the ongoing support of an AHO life coach and community navigator, Jimmy received housing support, a cell phone, employment, legal aide, scholarships, therapy, wardrobe, healthcare, dental care… Read More
I am so grateful I have been able to “beat the odds” with the support of AHO and am now a music producer entrepreneur and “giving back” as an AHO youth spokesperson for all the help I’ve received… Read More
To me, blood is thicker than water. But living with my uncle in New York was a different situation; my brother and I had to pay to live with them. My parents worked hard to pay our rent in New York, but the currency rate… Read More