My mom was a single mom and I was raised in the Western Addition. I had a couple of friends who tested positive for HIV, and those I found myself in peer relationships with were struggling to find place and space in the Western Addition. Drugs had really surrounded our community and there weren’t a lot
of places to go. Finding Huckleberry changed my life.
One day I got a call from my case manager, who said she felt in her heart that I was in a bad situation and that my life wasn’t going so well. She was right. At the time it wasn’t a teacher, it wasn’t a principal, it wasn’t a family member – it was someone from Huckleberry. They knew that if you get close enough to young people, you could understand their strengths and their challenges. She knew my challenges and that intervention saved my life.
The organization became a safe place for me. I’m forever thankful for the grace and the profound direction that the staff, care team, and case managers put me on. The youth development community is so important when we are bringing possibilities and opportunities to young people. They’re not going to be young people forever. Huckleberry continues to open up possibilities for those young people who will in fact change the world. Let’s create more villages. Huckleberry is in the center of the village that I want to continue to see in my city.