By age 12, Teihauna was already well aware of what trauma and hardship looks like. She was experiencing homelessness with her family. Battling a rare, debilitating muscular disease. And recovering from almost losing her dad to a violent assault.

Teihauna is the oldest of five kids. Like many families in the South Sound, her parents were having a hard time making ends meet. 

Their lives were turned upside down when Teihauna’s father was stabbed in the heart while working as a hotel security guard. By God’s grace, he survived. 

“He died for 45 minutes. He was supposed to be brain dead, but he’s not. He’s here. It’s amazing he’s here,” Teihauna shares gratefully.

But the hardships weren’t over. Because Teihauna’s father was in the hospital for so long, unable to work, the family couldn’t afford their rent. 

So, when Teihauna’s father was discharged, the family didn’t have anywhere to go. They were forced to live out of their car.

“Not having any space was the hardest. I remember one day I woke up on the floor of our van and I didn’t even know where I was,” Teihauna shares. “We’d just go to the park to brush our teeth and stuff.” 

Fortunately, someone told them about the Tacoma Rescue Mission’s family shelter. Thanks to the support of generous partners like you, Teihauna’s family was able to find shelter at the Mission until they could get back on their feet.

Teihauna got connected to the Youth Program within the first week she was here, and she loved it! 

In spite of the trauma she and her family have been through, Teihauna is thriving. 

The program has helped her stay dedicated to her school work. And continue pursuing her dreams of being a Veterinarian.

“The youth program is actually really cool because you have a quiet space to do your homework,” she says. 

“I get space from everything that’s going on so I can stay on target and focus. If I don’t get good grades, I’m not going to get to be a veterinarian,” Teihauna says, already looking ahead to a bright future. 

She wouldn’t be able to do that if it weren’t for friends like you supporting the Mission’s Youth Program. 

Everyone in Teihauna’s family is grateful for all the support and help they’ve received thanks to friends like you, but Teihauna is especially thankful for the hope, encouragement and safe space the Youth Program has given her.  

“For every kid, it’s a hard situation,” Teihauna says about experiencing homelessness

“I think it’s just very thoughtful of the people that are giving to keep the Youth Program going. Because kids want to have fun and it’s fun here. Kids also need to learn. You can learn here as well and get help if you need it.”

You can give another child like Teihauna the opportunity to succeed in school and in life.

Will you give a life-changing gift today?

Your gift today will provide life-changing support to a hurting child through one-on-one mentoring, tutoring, and more!