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Marcy Venegas - I Was Not Ready the First Time

Marcy VenegasI’m not sure if this is the place for me. I’m not sure about living with six female strangers. Plus those rules and all those adults telling me what to do are too much! I don’t think this is the place for me.

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No, it sure wasn’t. But I had to go somewhere. When I turned 18, I no longer had access to services provided by DCFS, and I couldn’t live at home. So, my options were limited to homeless shelters or the YWCA. Yes, I was desperate and perhaps too desperate because it didn’t work. I was asked to leave after only six months because I could not assimilate to the rules and staff of the program. It was just too difficult … for me and the YWCA.

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I’ve been living in my car, couch surfing and in various homeless shelters for the past 10 months. It’s a miracle, though, because despite the anxiety of having the police called because I was living in my car and listening to the screams of mentally ill homeless people in shelters, I have stayed in school. It’s the only place where I feel normal … like I’m moving in the right direction.

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I’m so tired of bouncing around … I need to find something more stable. Going to school is getting difficult because it’s hard to concentrate and study when I don’t know where I’ll sleep or get my next meal. I don’t have anyone to talk to either.

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Okay, so I’m going to try this again. The YWCA is giving me a second chance. They even coined the term The Marcy Rule, where if you are asked to leave the program for breaking the rules, you have the opportunity to return as long as you are going to school full-time and working part-time. I like that.

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What a great feeling it is, having a roof over my head – the same roof, every day! I appreciate the structure of the YWCA’s program and the importance of a stable living environment and peer support. The program is helping me to focus on education as my future. Like any home, living with six adults can be trying, but overall it’s a positive environment. And stable. I love this word.

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For the first time in my life I know what it means to focus on my personal development. I just transferred from Santa Monica College to California State University Northridge to pursue a BA in Film!

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I realize as I look back that I learned a lot about myself from my experiences at the YWCA. Over the years I have found myself switching from film to social work, wanting to give back to the transitional age youth population because of my own experiences. I now value education because of the structured program at the YWCA. My desire to grow personally was a result of the nurturing environment at the YWCA.

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After years of backpacking through various countries – grueling yet exhilarating experiences that helped me to appreciate my ability to support the livelihood of others – I have finally discovered that social work is my calling. I’ve been accepted to pursue a Master’s Degree in Social Work at USC. Thank you, YWCA, for supporting me and my educational pursuits!

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