"I grew up in Dorchester, where I lived with my mother. My dad left when I was young and wasn’t really in my life when I was growing up. When my mother passed away a few years ago, things got tough for me, and I lost my housing.

I’m the youngest of five siblings, but I didn’t want to impose on family or friends. They all have their own lives and families. They didn’t have extra space, so that wasn’t really an option for me.

I had never been to a shelter before, although I had heard about Pine Street. At that time I was sad from the loss of my mom, and the reality of my situation. I started talking to a staff member, who was very kind and who took the time to help me figure out my next steps.

While I’ve stayed at Pine Street, I have been able to work, save some money and invest in a computer. From there, I have signed up with a temporary job placement company - all while still sleeping at the shelter. The job placement agency matched me with a starting position, doing patient administration at a local hospital.

Right now, I’m in the process of getting my own place. I’m in one of Pine Street’s shelters in Dorchester, where I can come and go, and that is giving me the opportunity to learn new skills and to be independent. Once I move in, I’ll be able to cook for myself. It will be the first time I’ll be living on my own without my mother.

I can’t speak highly enough of the people who helped me at Pine Street. They saved my life at a time when I had no where else to go. Now I’m excited to move on to independence and young adulthood."