Youth making adult decisions, including finding their next meal.

December 11, 2009 § Leave a comment

Transition to adulthood can be difficult—especially without any family support. LifeWorks helps men and women 17-23 years old who are homeless, abused, mentally ill or leaving foster care. LifeWorks Street Outreach provides youth with food, assists with housing and job searching, and provides a safe space to build a community of peers. It also serves as an emergency shelter for youth in danger of abuse.

Clients: Caelan Phipps, Sara Bursac, Joshua Preston

            “LifeWorks has helped out tremendously,” says Joshua Preston, who started receiving food from them when he was 18. “If there weren’t food pantries like this, I’d be panhandling.” Joshua struggles with bipolar disease and diabetes, without any family support. He uses the food pantry to get healthy food. “The cans of mixed fruit are really helpful when my blood sugar drops,” he says.

         Caelan Phillips, 19, came to Austin from Wyoming after she was laid-off from her job. “I really like the people in Austin,” she says. “There’s always people to talk to. I want to go back to college and get a nursing degree. One of the ladies here offered to take me out to the community college and talk to them about financial assistance.” And when we asked her about her own family, she said, “They have a lot of other stuff going on. Money is tight.”

Annette Palmer, LifeWorks staff, and Gabriel Lamb, client

Gabriel Lamb, 22, moved to Austin from Phoenix. He remembers donating food and volunteering at a food pantry with his mom when he was younger. “I’ve been on both ends,” he says. “I remember volunteering a long time ago. I used to sort through food. Nobody is immortal when it comes to these things. Sometimes you really need help.” Gabriel’s mom died last year, and says he appreciates the social support network he has found at LifeWorks.

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