Jonathan Hebert spoke about how Hillsides Peer Resource Center helped him come out of his shell and find a job and a career he loves during the Center's one-year anniversary celebration.
Pasadena, CA - Since opening its doors last year, Hillsides Peer Resource Center (PRC), a drop-in center in Pasadena for youth in need ages 16-25, has had more than 5,800 visits and served 463 youth. On June 26, three of these youth gave emotional testimonials during the Center's year anniversary celebration.
"The PRC accepted me for who I was and took me in for who I am. Here, I realize my worth, and I belong," said Destiny Nguyen, 19, one of the speakers. Through the PRC, she is now a translator for a legal firm and on her way to her dream job of becoming a translator at the United Nations.
Another speaker, 20-year-old Jonathan Hebert, spoke about how the PRC staff brought him out of his shell after an adolescence that included juvenile hall, group homes, and homelessness. Through the help of job development specialist Casswell Goodman, he found a job he loves working with homeless families and he now plans on a career helping children who are disadvantaged. "I owe my life to programs like this," he said, "and in the future, I want to work in one."
The PRC is part of Hillsides Youth Moving On (YMO) program, which offers youth formerly in foster care or probation affordable quality housing and numerous other support services to help them transition to successful adulthood.
The celebration drew a crowd of more than 125 youth, Hillsides supporters, staff, and community members. During the event, the PRC staff handed out several accomplishment awards to youth and honored those who had finished a demanding workforce development curriculum. The event also included lunch, music, games, and a short film on the PRC.
"This celebration was a testament to the resilience of our youth and to the enormous capacity of their hearts in allowing the YMO team to share in their journey to full adulthood," said Hillsides Division Director of Transition-Aged Youth Services Thomas Lee.
The PRC is located at 456 E. Orange Grove Blvd., Suite 140, in Pasadena. It serves as a one-stop shop of centralized support, offering youth access to career planning, professional development, health and wellness training, social skills training, money management, and college prep, among other services. Weekly workshops and classes are offered on subjects as diverse as cooking, healing through music, and spirituality. It is the only center like it within the immediate area, and serves primarily youth who were formerly in foster care.
For more information on the Peer Resource Center and YMO, please visit www.youthmovingon.org. For more information on Hillsides, please visit www.hillsides.org.