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Hi, I'm Cathy. How can I help you?
That day after school instead of taking the school bus home, I took the public transit to the youth shelter in my town. 360Kids is a shelter for homeless youth 16-26 year old. Depending on each persons needs, there are different housing programs, but for right now I just needed a place to spend the night.
Hey, I'm Meghan. I'm John I'm Eric
When I walked in a smiling lady greeted me from behind her desk. After introducing ourselves I gave her the rundown of my situation and she reassured me that I was going to be okay and that she would find me a room to stay in for the night.
First Cathy took me up to the room I was going to be staying in so I could put my bags down. I was sharing a room with a girl named Meghan who has been at the shelter for the past 2 months. According to Cathy, Meghan is super friendly and will be excited to have another girl around. We started touring the house looking for the other kids when my phone started to ring. When I saw it was Mom I let it go to voicemail. It was her turn to be ignored.
Meghan was in the lounge with three guys who looked a lot older than 16. Cathy quickly introduced me to them before disappearing. The four of them took me in with opened hearts and slowly I started to get to know them. My phone continued to buzz in my pocket from calls from my parents and friends but I turned off my phone not wanting to talk to them right now.
A little past 10pm Cathy called me down to the main lobby because a police officer was looking for me. As I walked down the halls my heart raced, scared that I was going to be forced to go back home. I really liked the people here and I was for sure going to be in trouble if I went back home. Thankfully that wasn't the case. My parents called to report me missing and the officer simply needed to make sure I was safe. She couldn't make me go home and she promised not to tell my parents where I was.
I could not sleep that night. I went from feeling excited about being parent-free, to feeling guilty about leaving my siblings. There were times where I could not stop smiling at the thought of no more arguments with my parents, but minutes later I was in tears over the fact that my parents probably hate me now more than they already did.
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