Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The girl with big footprints...

You know how people come and go in our lives.  We've all heard the famous quotes about them leaving footprints in our hearts.  Well, in March, I met a girl with some pretty big footprints.

Jessie is homeless.  She's 17, almost 18.  She was dropped off by her drug addict father when she was 14 at a shelter filled to the brim with middle aged homeless men.

She's a fighter.  She made her way through the town and found a youth organization and shelter called WIND in Sacramento.  She thrived.  She hasn't given up.  She works at the shelter a few days a week, and attends high school.

I am not sure where her family or parents are now.  She says her earliest life memories are of riding the BART (bay area public transportation) around with both of her badly drug addicted parents to have a place to rest.  She's never had a "home".

When I met her, it was at an open house event to help raise funds for the shelter she lives, works, and goes to school at.  She was my tour guide, and when I met her, I thought she was a youth counselor at the facility.  But, after the tour was over, I asked one of the directors about her.  He said, "isn't she great.  She's been with us for a while now."

It's amazing to me that someone who's been through so much carries no "pity me" around with her.  She doesn't come off negative, and as she showed me around I was impressed by her with out knowing her background.

Jessie is graduating from high school next week.  I was so touched that she invited me to come and watch.

She is so inspiring.  She's taught me so much about life in just the few conversations we have had.  She's a beautiful person, and I know she is strong willed enough to make a positive difference in the world.

Right now, she is looking for a full time job.  She is trying to get her things in order, because as soon as she turns 19, she can no longer stay at the shelter.

It's odd because I remember being so scared when I graduated high school.  I was so nervous about the transition to college and moving away from my parents.  I was completely supported through everything, and I always knew I could go home if things didn't work out.

She doesn't have that option.  And I have yet to hear her complain.

My one hope for her is that she continues to inspire.  I want to see her succeed and change people's lives.  I know she is capable of it.  She's sure made a big impact on mine.

You know when you come across one of those people who makes you stop and think?  Someone who just blows you away?  She's that person.  You can read about what she recently did with the organization I work for here.

I wanted to share her story and thought maybe it would inspire another person.

Life isn't always easy for us, but we have to make the best of what we've got.  And maybe by living our life that way, we can leave some footprints in people's lives along the way.

16 comments:

The Hill House said...

Good for her! I hope everything works out with her finding a job. How touching and inspiring!

Emily said...

What a sad yet uplifting story. It's not every day you meet a teen who's gone through such difficult times and still strives for better and looks ahead, instead of having the entitlement mentality.

I think it's so sweet she's asked you to her graduation as I can't imagine there's anyone else in her life (family) that she'd want there. I really hope she continues on and is able to succeed.

Joshua said...

Wow! Loved reading this...my prayers are going out for her that she find the right job and continues to inspire others.

Lei said...

Inspiring story! Inspiring person at that! I wish her well. :)

Tiffany said...

What a great story and a great girl! She is amazing and has such an inspiring story! I can't wait to hear where she ends up! Keep us posted!

~Tiffany
http://tiffanyd22.blogspot.com

MJW said...

Very inspiring story <3

Mrs. Buck said...

Wow, such an inspiring story! Please let her know we're wishing her all the best for this new time of her life!

Allison said...

How sweet! Sometimes we become so spoiled that we forget how hard others have to work for what we take for granted. Touching story, Tracy.

Shelley said...

That is so touching! What an amazing girl!

Mo said...

Love the story!!! Amazing!!! I have an outreach here in Tulsa for homeless youth so it's always great to hear uplifting stories! If there is anything we can do here for her let us know....whatever it may be!

Love your blog!! new follower :)

Val said...

Thank you for posting this!! Touched my heart and is very inspiring.

Ruthie said...

Wow, I have chill bumps. What a great story and such an inspiring young woman!

Heather @ Mrs. Southern Bride said...

LOVED reading this. So awesome!

Home Is Where the Hart Is said...

Loved, loved, loved this story! Thank you so much for sharing!

So inspiring for everyone.

Bobbi said...

She sounds like a great girl. I love hearing stories like this from couragous and inspiring people!

Lauren said...

I read this the other day and didn't have time to comment, but I wouldn't have known what to do at that age. Sometimes I still don't know what to do and need help with little things. I'm so glad I have my parents to help. I'm so impressed by her.