A year ago, Danielle was living on the street in Eugene.
Now, she is working with Carry It Forward to build tiny homes.
It all started when Danielle was introduced to Connected Lane County and their WIOA Youth Program, which provides workforce development training opportunities to young people ages 14-24. They helped her land a job at St. Vincent DePaul, and explore other internships as well.
“That was the most hours I had ever worked regularly,” she says.
Danielle says getting this type of support helped her start finding some stability, and start exploring what career she might want to go into. “WIOA Youth Program helps youth who are trying to get back on their feet. They help young people get internships. They can even help you get IDs and food stamps” says Danielle.
From there, she enrolled at Lane Community College and is working on earning her GED. “One more GED test to go and then I’m done,” she says. “I’m pretty proud of that.”
But after working at St Vincent DePaul and looking around at other options, she finally connected with Carry It Forward and found her passion for carpentry.
“Carry It Forward is working on making a whole village,” she says. “I work in the shop where we make tiny homes. It can take a month to finish one. We’ve made them differently based on what people need. We’ve made ones on wheels…right now we’re working on one that’s wheelchair accessible. We’re also working on a shower pod for the village.”
She says she absolutely loves working with wood and the days go by fast.
Plus, she and her partner are getting support to find an apartment, and even pay first month’s rent, deposit, and application fees through a Looking Glass Community Services program called New Roads.
Youth Re-engagement Programs and support services like Danielle was able to access are funded in part by the Oregon Youth Reengagement Opportunity Grant, which is administered by Oregon Youth Development Division and was created as part of the 2019 Student Success Act to help young Oregonians get the support they need to thrive and find their calling. The Future Ready Oregon 2022 package, which is being considered in the 2022 Legislative Session, includes investments in expanding this type of program so that no Oregonian is left without options to succeed.
Danielle went through some pretty tough times, but now her future is looking bright.