The Resilience of Youth
The homelessness young Chicagoans experience throughout their youth, as well as the trauma that brought them there, does not and will not define them. Like all of America’s youth, Chicago’s youth that experience homelessness are resilient and hopeful. Youth experiencing homelessness have passions, talents, and dreams that motivate them to work towards the life of stability that has been ripped away from them. Youth describe themselves as “Amazing, different, unique, resilient, self-motivated, determined, loving, caring, persevering"—or, as one youth put it, "Teens struggling with the issues of life.” The combination of this inspirational intrinsic motivation and the support of local non-profit organizations such as the Night Ministry, Ignite, and La Casa Norte, allow youth to find and/or build the homes and communities of their dreams.
It is important to note that, in addition to finding the homes and communities of their dreams, many youth who have experienced homelessness want to support and give back to the communities that helped them along the way. These young people seek out opportunities to be involved in the programs that supported them during their time of need and make an impact on the next generation of youth who are forced to walk through those same doors. They use their voices, stories, and experiences to make a positive impact on the world around them and push society forward towards an end to youth homelessness. Get to know a few of these individuals by reading their stories.