Phoenix Youth Programs (Halifax, NS) gives Kayla a Second Chance
Phoenix Youth Programs is the largest non-profit organization of its kind in Atlantic Canada with 87 staff working in ten locations in Halifax to deliver critical housing and support services to at-risk and homeless young people between the ages of 12-24. The following is the story of one of the youth that benefitted from their programs:
If you would have asked me last year where I would see myself today, I would have told you independent, strong and determined. At this time last year, I was quite a different person. Last year I was living at SAP (Phoenix’s Supervised Apartment Program), all gung-ho to be independent—thinking I could take on the world by myself. But there was one battle that I have now come to know that I cannot fight on my own: a battle with mental illness.
My Phoenix journey began at Phoenix Centre for Youth, where I met amazing people who helped me get connected in my community. And very soon after, I found myself at the Shelter. After two stays at the Shelter I was accepted into Phoenix House. In Phoenix House, I had my own struggles, my ups and downs, but most importantly I had my successes. The staff were there with me the whole time, cheering me on.
After doing so well at Phoenix House, my key worker and I decided that it was time for me to move to SAP. In SAP I was faced with more challenges than I could handle—the biggest one being my struggle with mental illness. The staff was ever so patient with me; however, after a long battle, I concluded SAP was not the right “fit” for me. So, I left SAP to pursue other opportunities where I faced some serious challenges. When I decided I needed to change, it was Phoenix I needed, so I moved back to the city and the first place I went to was Phoenix Center for Youth—this is where my second chance began.
I was met with open arms; it felt like I had never left. Phoenix Centre for Youth helped me get reconnected with Phoenix Shelter and the Phoenix Community Choir. And I began to find myself again. While in the Shelter I landed a full-time summer job working in a daycare. Not long after being in the Shelter the staff there urged me to reapply to Phoenix House. I was beyond scared. I had convinced myself that Phoenix House wouldn’t take me back. But I was wrong, because that is not what Phoenix is.
I was given a second chance–a chance that I ran with. Since being in Phoenix House I have continued to work hard, not only at meeting the expectation at the House and at school, but also on my mental health.
I still have my bad days. And the staff are right there to support me.
Today in my life I have “grad privs”, the highest privilege at Phoenix House. I also have grades in the high eighties and I have been accepted into Mount Saint Vincent University’s Child and Youth Program.
Without Phoenix I could not have accomplished half of this. They have been there to guide and support me along the way. I will be forever grateful that they gave me my second chance.
Phoenix Youth Programs was the recipient of a $25,000 The Home Depot Canada Foundation Affordable Housing Grant in 2012. This program assists registered charities making repairs, refurbishments and/or modifications to their housing accommodations for youth to they can focus their time on program delivery.