By Janie Rodriques
I lived at Lutheran Services Florida’s Oasis Youth Shelter on and off the past two years. I wasn’t sure at first how this safe place would help me, but it did. I am sharing my story during National Safe Place Week (March 19-24) to raise awareness about the program and how it truly helps youth in crisis like me.
The first time I went to Oasis was court-ordered because I was skipping school regularly. The second time I needed a break from my family and voluntarily sought help from Oasis. Things were tense at home among my sisters, mom and boyfriend. I was pregnant and concerned all the fighting and stress was not healthy for me. I couldn’t handle the name calling, yelling and constant arguing.
Oasis allowed me time to breathe. Staff worked with my mom and me to respect each other and set boundaries. Oasis created a safe environment for us to share and understand our feelings. I am home now and happy. I have a routine that includes going to school, doing homework, taking care of my baby and seeing my boyfriend on the weekends.
I encourage teens struggling to reach out to a safe place like Oasis Youth Shelter.