YMO Graduate Celebrates Success Along with Program’s Anniversary
Dejanai Sims, 23, comes from a family with addiction problems. She’s also faced neglect, gang violence, low-self-esteem, and many other obstacles. When she needed a place to live, Youth Moving On (YMO) provided her with an affordable, quality apartment and numerous support services to help her heal from the trauma of her past and become a self-sufficient adult.
“When I didn’t have a place to stay, they housed me. When I didn’t have food, they fed me. When I needed someone just to listen, they listened. Not only that, they are a part of me becoming a better me,” Dejanai said during a speech at a recent 10-year anniversary celebration of the program. YMO also helped her nurture her future plans of becoming a social worker.
Since opening its doors in 2005, Hillsides YMO Program, which provides housing assistance and independent living services to youth 16-25, has served 225 youth through its housing program and has expanded from 10 apartments at one site to 33 apartments across five sites. Youth also have access to the YMO Workforce Development Program, which serves 325 youth per year and in the past two years has helped 165 and youth gain employment. For more information on Youth Moving On, please visit www.youthmovingon.org.