“I guess Jackson Street helped me in a lot of ways that I will probably begin to understand better as I grow older. But for me at the time, what I really felt I needed was just a place to be and to feel safe and for me that was the biggest thing.
It is my pleasure to introduce to you a short video my son made in my living room recently of a former Jackson Street resident named Royce. Interestingly, I learned that he came to Jackson Street 12 years ago, the same year I started at Jackson Street with my hopes and dreams of a strong and vibrant nonprofit organization. Royce is now 24 years old. When Royce came to Jackson Street he was 12 and had already been couch surfing at friends’ houses for a while. As I was talking to him, this really struck me. He was only 12. At that same time, my own family included my three kids who were 12, 10, and 8 and my husband and I were doing everything we could for them to keep them safe and do well in school as well as drive them to soccer practice, cello practice, play dates, on and on. Royce, at those ages, was just trying to keep himself safe, fed, and clean.
I remember also what Jackson Street was like back then. It was still a fairly new community experiment. If you know Kendra, our Program Director, she had been an OSU student and intern at Jackson Street and had just become a new caseworker at this time. Jackson Street hadn’t developed the full continuum of services that we have now, but it was already doing significant work and making a difference in the lives of many youth, including Royce.
Ann P. Craig
Jackson Street Youth Services
P.S. Thank you, Royce, for sharing your story. You can learn more about Royce’s journey as a foster youth on his blog at www.fosterflight.com