Jeffrey Thomas spent his childhood and youth in different foster care settings. At age 21, he aged out of the system and found himself homeless. He slept in the streets for eight months, trying to survive without a job or much hope for the future. One day, one of his sisters recommended the Hillsides’ Peer Resource Center to him, a one-stop shop where youth can receive housing, workforce training, and other resources.
Jeffrey felt at home at the Center. “Everyone was so caring and nice, and they liked me,” he said. “They told me they were going to get me some help.”
And they did – quickly. The Peer Resource Center is part of Hillsides Youth Moving On (YMO) program that provides affordable, high quality apartments to youth formerly in foster care. By luck, a spot was open, and program manager Laura Lunsford was able to secure an apartment for Jeffrey.
At the same time, Jeffrey began attending workforce training at the Center, where he learned that California Pizza Kitchen, which offers internships through YMO, was hiring. Jeffrey applied for a host position, and after three interviews, got the job. YMO provided work clothes for all three interviews.
Today, Jeffrey is secure and stable. He knows he has a lifeline at YMO he can count on. “If you want help, you can get it here,” he said. “If you give up on yourself, that’s one thing, but YMO will never give up on you.”