Power of One
Working at The Mockingbird Society has truly been an experience that I will never forget. I came to Mockingbird homeless, mad at the world, and struggling to survive. Over the course of almost three years, I have gone from homeless to stably housed, from mad at the world to taking control of my life, and from struggling to survive to learning how to thrive! The Mockingbird Society gave me the skills to not only connect with society, but to also take on any task that is handed to me. Sitting back and thinking about the day I started to participate with Mockingbird has humbled me even more! When I thought I had nothing else to lose and assumed that no one would ever care about me, homeless youth, or what we had to say, The Mockingbird Society taught me differently.
I first came to The Mockingbird Society in early January of 2013 as a participant of the MYN Seattle chapter. At the time, I was participating with and volunteering at the YMCA — I learned about Mockingbird through the Y because they are partner organizations and tend to support the same youth and young adults. We would participate in monthly mailing days with Mockingbird, which was also where I found out about The Mockingbird Times. At first I really wasn’t interested in getting involved; at the time I was still homeless and more focused on trying to survive! For those who don’t know, I was homeless for ten years on and off, so I wasn’t too excited about working with an advocacybased organization that teaches youth to advocate based on the experiences they have been through! Yeah, I wasn’t too sure about that. But, I had friends who were also participants so it made me more comfortable to talk to someone and learn more about The Mockingbird Society. A job was just what I needed to get my foot into the door of no longer being homeless. I was offered the position in early April of 2013. As I started working as a Network Representative I was able to look at the world from a different perspective. The Mockingbird Society gave me the skills to understand my surroundings and why the world works the way it does! I learned so many skills that would last me a lifetime: facilitation, public speaking, journalism, interviewing, how to address a legislator, how to make an “ask” with an elected official, testifying for priorities at the local and state level, how to be a leader to my peers and, most importantly, how to get my point across effectively and clearly.
Most of my life and my entire childhood was surrounded by vulgar and unhealthy language. One could say it has had a dramatic influence on my life and the way I speak to people. I could never find the right words to express myself, or people thought that I was always mad or angry because of how overbearing I came across to people. I lost jobs, wasn’t hired for jobs, lost friends, and also got into a lot of altercations with people because of things I would say or how I would say it. The staff at Mockingbird actually took the time to really work with me on my language. Not only did they show they actually cared about me, but they also showed me that I was more skilled than I thought.
April 30 will be my last day as a Senior Network Representative at The Mockingbird Society, and I feel very capable to find my “New Beginning.” I am in a position to be an amazing professional and advocate, and I couldn’t have done it without the guidance of the staff here and the other Network Reps. As I move forward in life I will use everything I learned here to take myself as far as I can go. From being a keynote speaker, a national advocate in New York, and testifying at the state level on issues and priorities that I actually helped create, to sitting at Youth Advocacy Day with my peers listening to the founder Jim Theofelis say that “our lives matter,” and leading young people in a march around the capitol, I have more than enough confidence to know that I will never return to homelessness. I will teach my peers to be better individuals. our lives DO matter. For that I thank The Mockingbird Society.