Born and raised in Honduras, Bernice fled to the United States, when her mother’s boyfriend attempted to sell her to a gang. She briefly lived with her father in the US, but found herself homeless soon after, due to him living with five adult males and feeling unsafe.

At 17, Bernice had nowhere to go. Walking around Hollywood, several youth had told her about Youth Emerging Stronger. Skeptical, she wandered her way to our “red door” on Taft Avenue.

Just shy of her 18th birthday, Bernice entered our Runaway and Homeless Youth Program and with the support of our staff team immediately started working towards self-sufficiency. The first step, was to complete the legal process for residency, so that she could obtain documentation to finish her education and obtain employment.

Soon after, Bernice was accepted into our Transitional Living Program and has been constant voice of love and support for her peers. She is currently the house cooking intern and really makes the kitchen the heart of the home. She is also working with an individual therapist to process past trauma and to identify additional coping skills to assist her in accomplishing her goals for the future.

Bernice was granted her green card for permanent residency and is currently working hard on finishing high school. She plans to attend college and study Journalism and Communications.

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