Meisha lost her mother at age 15. Soon thereafter, Meisha was detained  under a Children In Need of Services (CHINS) for being a wayward youth. Her issues with truancy and running away stemmed from a dysfunctional home life, leading to state system involvement for her and her family.

Referred to YOU Boston in 2006, Meisha met with agency staff during her detention period. The relationship she began to build with her YOU Boston Case Manager was particularly meaningful. Meisha battled trauma that had a harmful effect on her life. As she recalls,

I knew I needed guidance, and that I needed to stay positive. I didn’t want anyone to use me, and I needed to take care of myself. I never gave up. YOU Boston served as a back bone.

Over the next several years, Meisha continued to struggle with her educational and employment goals. Recognizing the need for support, she relied on the relationships built with YOU Boston staff to strive forward. And, this reliance and trust in staff was a positive development. Eventually earning her high school diploma, Meisha recalls.

YOU Boston has taught me that it takes time, and if I keep fighting for it. I will get my goals – I’ll be able to touch it. It’ll be real.

Since her involvement in the juvenile justice system, housing and job security have continued to affect Meisha’s stability. Nevertheless, her resolve is even stronger. Meisha never picked-up additional charges.She currently has permanent stable housing and full-time employment in the food and beverage industry which has fueled her goal to become a chef and business owner. When asked what YOU Boston means to her, she puts it plainly: “A future.

YOU Boston operates its intensive case management model to best serve young people like Meisha. Her ongoing relationship with YOU Boston staff has turned into an agency-wide mentorship, and this support has a long-lasting impact on her life.

I am a stronger individual, and I can rely on myself. I can now block out the negative influences. It is my priority to put myself first.