Jasmin Rath was living on the streets of Boston before she entered into a Boston-area outreach program that helped her get her plugged into school and placed in a new housing situation.
“I used to sleep on the floor and everything,” Rath told WBZ-TV of her years as a homeless teenager. “I would cry.”
YouthHarbors is a Boston-based organization that helps young teenagers who might not have a place to live and need additional support and guidance on how to navigate life. YouthHarbors is a program for people ages 18-22 who are trapped in “survival mode” because they lack financial and relational stability.
This past Thursday, dozens of students in the YouthHarbor program received their high school diplomas, including Rath.
“For me, to make it this far, is a little bit crazy,” she told WBZ after receiving her diploma from Lowell High School.
Rath received her diploma from Lowell High School, as the organization partners with a variety of high schools in the area.
The YouthHarbors website states that they provide young people “with housing assistance, an adult support network, and individualized life skills development lessons so they can find safety in appropriate housing, graduate high school, and break the cycle of homelessness and poverty.”
“She was basically one of the only persons that actually did have hope in me,” Rath told WBZ of her mentor from YouthHarbors. “And I came in with just a duffel bag. She gave me jobs, she gave me clothes, she gave me food. She gave me anything I needed to survive.”
In the nine years since its founding, YouthHarbors has supported almost 700 different students. After the organization places someone in long-term housing that fits both the teenager and their family, they plug them into individualized life skills workshops. These include:
“Career-Oriented: Finding a job, writing a resume, or improving interview skills.
Domestic: Cooking food safely, maintaining an apartment, doing laundry, managing and negotiating roommate relationships.
Academic: Planning educational goals, connecting with academic tutors.
Financial: Managing a budget, paying bills on time, learning to save for the future.”
Now, Rath’s future is looking bright, as the teen plans to continue her education and eventually “change the world.”
“I’m hoping to major in business and minor in accounting,” she said, adding that she hopes to start her own business. “I wanna change the world.”