Boys & Girls Aid

From foster youth to youth mentor

Boys & Girls Aid 8000 Reasons

Kelsey Conger spent time as a foster youth in two Boys & Girls Aid programs. Despite the challenges she faced growing up, Kelsey has worked hard to overcome adversity and is now giving back to children in need. Here is Kelsey’s story about her experiences and goals for life.

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Transitioning to independence

Transitonal Living Program Boys & Girls Aid

Before the Transitional Living Program, this young woman was living in Gresham with her mom. She commuted two hours to her job, and didn’t know if she would have a home a few months in. She shared her story with us.

I was comfortable in Gresham despite how far away I was from most of the people I knew, school and work. One day my mom told us that her boyfriend from Texas was moving in with us. I felt uncomfortable because I had only seen the guy once and for me it was suspicious how this guy would leave everything behind and come to Oregon to start a new life with a woman he had only seen once. When he moved in it didn’t feel like home anymore. For the first month or so, her boyfriend would only stay home and wouldn’t look for a job, which was a constant thing my mom and I argued about. One day during one of our arguments my mom said I could keep the apartment because they were moving out. Because my mom had housing assistance affording the apartment for me was not a problem but if she moved out, I had to move out too.

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Creating gender neutral restrooms for homeless youth

Boys & Girls Aid transgender sign

We are excited to announce that our Safe Place shelter, which serves homeless and runaway youth, now has gender neutral restrooms. Boys & Girls Aid received a donation of gender neutral restroom signs from the Brooklyn, New York company MyDoorSigns.

Many of the homeless and runaway youth served by our Safe Place shelter left home after their true gender was rejected by family. Safe Place staff strive to create an environment where these teens feel accepted and comfortable.

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Preparing you to become a foster parent

Mary Jo Boys & Girls Aid

Mary Jo Smock certifies Boys & Girls Aid foster parents. She works with foster parents interested in Boys & Girls Aid foster programs, to make sure they have the skills and tools needed to be successful. Below are Mary Jo’s tip for those who might be considering becoming a foster parent:

What are the qualities that you think make a good foster parent?

The qualities that are most promising in adults who want to give foster parenting a try are flexibility, stability, a good sense of humor, the willingness to learn and adapt, and an appreciation of teenagers.

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A foster home for Bo

Boys & Girls Aid foster care

Bo had been in so many foster homes over the years that he lost track of the exact number. Having entered foster care when he was 12, Bo often rebelled, ran away, or was kicked out of his foster home and residential care programs. He had dropped out of high school and was dealing with substance abuse. When he came to our STEP program at the age of 17, he had few options. He was most likely going to age out of foster care when he turned 18 and enter adult independence without any form of support or guidance.

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