Hello, I’m Catherine Fisher, a broker and property manager with Town & Country Realty. I’m also a proud Board member for the Jackson Street Youth Shelter, and I have a confession to make… I have a problem – you might call it an “underdog” problem. I always root for the underdog – in sports, on TV, and in life. I love it when people follow their dreams and their lives get be er. One of the most well‐known true stories and movies of that kind is Rudy, the story of a boy who dreams of playing football for Notre Dame but lacks the money and grades to a end. His grades are terrible because his dyslexia has gone undiagnosed. He is not naturally the size of a refrigerator, and he has so li le money that he has to sneak into the custodian’s oﬃce to sleep at night. By his family and friends, by teachers and coaches, even seemingly by life itself, Rudy is laughed at, beli led, and told “NO.” When I watch Rudy, I yell and I curse at the people in Rudy’s life who do not give him even a single chance along the way to shine his light. “How is this fair?” I think. “He has at least as much drive and determina on as any of the other players – probably more. Just give him a chance!” But he s cks with it, making it work, – no ma er what. I shout, “RUDY! RUDY! RUDY!” along with the throng of people at the Notre Dame football game as he finally gets to play. At the end of the movie, Rudy does get his ‘happily ever a er.’ A past resident, Angel, recently shared her story. Because of Jackson Street, she too has a ‘happily ever a er:’ “The first Ɵme I came to Jackson Street Youth Shelter my family was falling apart. I was running away from an abusive home with drug use and violence. The staﬀ there were the first people who looked at me and listened, and I believed they cared. I lived there for five months. While I was there I was given hope and guidance. I was taught all the things no one had cared enough to teach me before. I was taught how to do more than survive, that I could do more than survive. I was given life skills and the support to find a job. They helped me apply for state benefits so I could have health insurance. They made me feel human and important.
They believed in me when no one else did. I can, without a doubt, say that I would not have graduated high school without Jackson Street Youth Shelter and all the staﬀ there that helped change my life. I don't know if I would have survived without them; I certainly wouldn't be the person I am today. Today, I am a happy, healthy, self‐suﬃcient mother of two beau ful children! I hope to someday be able to oﬀer the same guidance and support to other young adults facing similar hardships. I want to use my life experiences to give back, to be able to help at least one person the way I was helped.”
As I hear Angel’s story, I again want to yell and curse – at her parents and “the system” that said no to her, repeatedly. But I also root and cheer for what Angel has become – a confident, healthy and happy woman determined to give her children and others the encouragement she was so o en denied. I want to chant, “ANGEL! ANGEL! ANGEL!” just like they do for Rudy at the end of the movie. I am so proud of Angel and Rudy and every other person who overcomes the “NOs” in their life. Could I be that strong? Could I be that persistent? Could I be that brave? The answer is that I don’t know. I would like to think that I could. But the truth is that I just don’t know. Thankfully, I have never had to find out. I have been free to chase and pursue all of my dreams with very few obstacles placed in front of me, and all the support, and love, and help I have needed or asked for. I have been told “YES.” And that, in so many ways, is all it takes. And that is what Jackson Street Youth Shelter provides for the youth of Linn and Benton coun es every day in so many wonderful ways – a chance to be supported and receive the help they need. From the shelter in Corvallis, to the Cornerstone Youth Outreach Center in Albany, to the Transi onal Living Program, mentoring, tutoring, outreach and soon… a second shelter in Albany! In the face of a million “NOs” Jackson Street Youth Shelter tells young people, “YES! You can do it!
You are important! We believe in you and your dreams!”
But to do all of this, we need your help. Please join in saying “YES!” to suppor ng at‐risk youth in our community. You really can make a diﬀerence. Thank you for giving generously! Sincerely,
Catherine Fisher, On behalf of the Board of Directors for Jackson Street Youth Shelter, Inc.
Visit us at www.jacksonstreet.org to sign up for easy monthly donations. You can also join our email list to receive the very latest updates on our Linn County Expansion Project.