Cradling a newborn baby inspires a similar response in all of us: awe, humility, and wonder. I remember holding my daughters for the first time and being overwhelmed by both the possibilities of what they might do and be and the responsibilities and joys for me.
Isn’t it strange to think that we were all that fresh and new? Not only you and me, but the most powerful leader on Earth and the most hardened, world-weary person on their deathbed. We all begin as blank pages, but there are countless factors that determine our fates. Some of these factors are uniquely important — our access to opportunity, our socio-economic status, and our upbringing, for example. There are stages of life that are especially formative, too, like when we are deciding who we are and who we want to become.
The young people in our programs are in the middle of this remarkable season, and it excites me to think about the tremendous amount of possibility bottled up in each them. Whether they’re destined to be rocket scientists, famous authors, teachers, or loving parents, each of them is entitled to a future full of promise. Unfortunately, many of these youth are seriously disadvantaged compared to their peers. A lack of stable housing threatens to steal their tomorrows. Homework instructions in an unfamiliar language make it impossible to learn the content. A pregnancy test asks them put their own dreams on hold and begin a family unexpectedly.
Second Story steps in at the most critical moments, coming alongside homeless and underserved young people to meet their physical and emotional needs. Second Story for Homeless Youth and Second Story for Young Mothers provide housing and support so that young people can pursue their dreams. Second Story for Teens in Crisis partners with youth and families to intervene when issues shift a young person’s focus from what is important, and Second Story in the Community provides a safe place to be in an often unsafe neighborhood and homework help and counseling so that youth get the opportunities they deserve.
For 45 years we have been helping shape a new narrative for youth in crisis. These disadvantages do not have to decide their futures, and we’re committed to doing everything we can to help them excel despite their circumstances.
CEO, Second Story