Youth Highlight: Elliott

Elliott has been an engaged member of the Connected Lane County community since August 2023. Elliott appreciates the inclusive and welcoming environment at Spark locations, where they can unwind, access support, and engage in various activities. To learn more about Elliott’s story, read their interview below!

How did you find Connected Lane County, and what made you stay for additional experiences? “My case manager at LCBH recommended the program to me, and at first, I was skeptical, but I stuck with it because I knew I could use the help. I figured if I didn’t like it, I could drop it. I’m glad I stayed because it’s been very helpful and way more amazing than I could have expected. I had never heard about it until Ann at LCBH suggested it. I wish I’d heard about it sooner. I tell everyone about it,” said Elliott.

Please share a bit about each Connected Lane County experience you participated in. What were the highlights for you?
“At Wonder Wednesday, I really enjoyed cooking on a budget. I am not very good at cooking and VERY bad at budgeting, and it opened up my eyes to cooking not being very hard or scary, and it can be affordable! I enjoyed being part of the cooking and was skeptical about the recipe (pumpkin chili), but it was really good! The youth house has a community pantry with many ingredients, and I’m planning to make it soon!” said Elliott.

“Rentwell was really helpful, especially while I was dealing with housing issues at my last apartment. It’s really good to know your rights as a tenant, and the landlord incentive fund will be very helpful when I move to Portland later this year. Even after completing the class, I could still talk with Hailey, who taught it about ongoing housing issues. She helped me get out of a lease that was not addressing my needs,” said Elliott.

“Regarding the Youth Support Specialist Training, I thought that the way it was laid out, with the hard topics mixed with games and brain breaks, plus having staff available throughout the duration, was really nice. I was so excited when I heard about it because it relates to my field, and I didn’t need to worry about getting into it by myself. I probably wouldn’t have been able to access training like this if it wasn’t paid or if I had to pay for it myself,” said Elliott.

Do you feel Connected Lane County Experiences impacted your future educational or career goals?
“Most definitely. I was worried for a long time that I would just be stuck in food service jobs until I couldn’t physically work them anymore. Now, I get to work a job I’ll feel fulfilled and passionate about. Even if I wasn’t planning to go to college for social work, I could still have a career that I love. This career will also be more accessible with more opportunities, like choosing my own schedule to meet my physical needs. I’m really excited because I can actually DO the job!” said Elliott.

What are your future career or educational goals?
“I want to go to PSU for social work. I want to get at least a BS, but I would love a PhD or a Masters. There’s a program in Eugene called RAD (radical alternative development) that I like what they do, and I want to start something similar or extend it to Portland. They are big in the punk scene and do good community work while involving music, and since I have a big passion for music and helping out the community, it’s perfect and exactly what I want to do,” said Elliott.