Why Helena May is Sleeping Outside
I started using drugs when I was fourteen years old. It affected my relationship with my mom. Her and I would fight all the time and I started to get involved with the wrong people. My boyfriend at the time was much older than me and his friends were too. My house was not a safe environment and my nana’s house was not somewhere where I could use drugs, so I ended up on the streets.
One day, I woke up outside of my high school. An employee saw me as they were opening up and invited me inside. My shoes were completely falling apart, I needed food, shelter and I needed recovery.
I am sleeping outside in solidarity for youth that are still on the streets, like I was 5 years ago.
The school youth worker brought me to MY House, an amazing resource through Youth Unlimited, for some new shoes and a hot meal. Because of my genuine love for humanity, I started spreading the word to others in my position, encouraging them to visit the youth house too. It is important for people to realize how big of an issue youth homelessness and addiction really is. I pledge to continue to be an ally and an advocate for the people who are living through it.
It took me six years to graduate high school. During that time, I was running weekly meetings in the basement of the youth house, attending rehab when I would relapse, taking action in the community and in schools and applying to government funded programs to help me secure a job. I finally made it.
Today, I am living in Vancouver and working as an Educational Assistant. Most of the positive change in my life has happened in the past year. I am sharing my story to inspire other youth, like me, and to remind them they are not alone.