Being a teenage girl is hard, but living in a homeless shelter as a teenage girl is really hard. One fourteen-year-old teen, whom we will call Grace, shared what some of the hardest things she faced while living at a homeless shelter.
When Grace arrived at Faith Refuge with her mom, she was scared because she had never been to a place like that before and she had never heard of Faith Refuge. “I felt alone,” said Grace. She bravely swiped tears away from her eyes as she fought not to let others see her hurt. Showing how she really felt did not come easily to Grace. There were no other teens her own age when she moved into Faith Refuge. Soon after she moved in, another teenager moved there with her family, but they left before Grace moved out of the shelter. Once again she felt alone. This happened several times because she and her mom needed to stay at the shelter for an extended time.
Another hard aspect was that there was not a TV she could watch by herself. There was a community TV, but the older people chose what could be viewed. She also missed communicating with her friends. When her family had a home, she played on a PS4 game station, which enabled Grace to talk with her friends. At the shelter her evenings after school became very long and lonely.
Grace lived at the homeless shelter for months, but only one person knew she lived at Faith Refuge. She trusted that one friend completely; however, there were no other friends or teachers she confided to while she went through this rough time. Grace also communicated less with her friends after school because of limited cell phone and internet usage. The teenage years should be full of joy and friendship, but Grace found herself very isolated.
“Sometimes I remember what happened and I get sad and angry for what he did,” said Grace about her stepdad. Red eyes and tears made their presence at this time. Grace quickly changed the subject to how grateful she was for the staff of Faith Refuge and that she hoped she could continue her studies in high school. Doing well in school was very important to her. The advice she gives to other teenagers facing similar situations like hers is, “Be strong.”