Audrey’s relationship with her mother had always been tumultuous, especially when it came to matters involving her mother’s boyfriend. She was the victim of constant verbal and emotional abuse and had been kicked out of the house numerous times, causing a lot of scenes in her neighborhood. After the fights and skirmishes had escalated out of control, Audrey was finally kicked out and, barely 17 years old, found herself homeless and on her own. Her boyfriend had similar family issues and also found himself living on the streets. Together, they bounced from house to house and did whatever they could to make ends meet, while also still managing to go to school. Eventually, they were referred to Youth On Their Own by a school administrator and were finally on their way to stability.
In addition to attending school full-time, Audrey and her boyfriend also work and manage to pay all of their bills. They live in their own home and have plans to attend college after they graduate. For Audrey, YOTO has helped her in more ways than one, acting as a “backbone” for her – financially, physically, and even emotionally. She was also selected to be part of the first cohort for YOTO’s grant-funded JAG (Jobs for Arizona’s Graduates) Program, designed to help youth prepare for “life after high school.” According to her, being involved with YOTO provided her with the tools and help she needed to be successful in school, in the workplace, and overall in life.
In Audrey’s own words, “To all of the donors who make the YOTO program possible, thank you. Thank you for all of the help and support you have provided me in my time of need, when no one else would. Knowing that we have an organization that cares about us if we ever fall back is priceless when you’re just trying to succeed.”