Sabrina’s Story – Rare Breed Youth Services

Sabrina was struggling with addiction and experiencing suicidal thoughts when she entered Mercy’s Marian Center for in-patient treatment at 19 years old. When she exited the treatment program, she was hesitant to return to her mother’s house. They had a rocky relationship made worse by her mental health struggles and addiction.

That is how Sabrina found herself homeless in April 2019. A few days later, she connected with Rare Breed Youth Services, a program that provides immediate access to basic needs and rapid access to community services for youth ages 13-24. Sabrina found food, clothing, and showers at Rare Breed. More importantly, she found mentorship from staff. 

“I found someone to talk to. Someone who didn’t treat me like I was just a kid on the street—that I was a real person. They didn’t let me wallow in self-pity,” says Sabrina.

Case managers at Rare Breed use trauma-informed care and harm reduction practices to help young people make positive change in their lives. When Sabrina found Rare Breed, she was tired of feeling numb. Looking in the mirror, she didn’t recognize herself and couldn’t remember the last time she smiled. She felt the people around her were only using her, and she was ready to make a change. Case managers connected Sabrina with the resources to start getting better—including housing assistance.

Sabrina was able to rent an apartment through Springfield Black Tie funding, which provides housing assistance specifically for LGBTQ+ youth in need. The new apartment gave her a clean slate and a place to start looking to the future. Sabrina started working on addiction recovery and improving her mental health.

“Sabrina is an example of how unique each youth’s story can be. Through personalized case management and building trust, we can help youth find the support they need to achieve stability,” says Kathy Westmoreland, Youth Services Coordinator.

After accessing care and finding stability, Sabrina says her relationship with her mother has improved. She has even moved back in with her mom. Now, Sabrina is looking forward to “living her life in God’s work.” Sabrina receives services and works with Life360 Community Services, where she has found people that pour into her life in a way she hasn’t known before. 

Sabrina is one of the 617 youth served at Rare Breed Youth Services in 2021. You can support youth like Sabrina by giving to Rare Breed in June. Help us celebrate 22 years of serving youth in the community!

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