Jackson Street Youth Services gives youth a safe place to live and resources that get them on the road to a better life.
Founded to fill a gap in local support services for housing homeless youth, we serve Linn and Benton Counties and rely on donations and partnerships from throughout the region to give youth in crisis a stable future.
A Letter (and a Rap) from our Executive Director
Lately I’ve become obsessed with the play Hamilton. Do you know about it? It’s an award-winning Broadway musical, and my oldest son, Whitman, bought me the soundtrack for Christmas. (I hadn’t heard of it before, but he knew I would love it because we are both kind of dorks for history and musicals, so put them together and it’s magical.)
The play is the story of Alexander Hamilton, one of our country’s founding fathers. The first song gives us his background by telling – rapping actually – about his traumatic childhood.
When Alexander Hamilton was 10, his father deserted the family and left them in debt. Before long, his mother died and he moved in with a cousin, but the cousin killed himself. Young Alex then signed on as an apprentice to a merchant and moved in with his family. But as if there hadn’t had enough turmoil in his young life, the Caribbean island where Hamilton lived was devastated by a hurricane. He wrote about it, and about his feelings, and his article was published. The community was so impressed with what he wrote that they took up a collection for him to travel to New York and go to college. While he was there he boarded with a tailor’s family. He went to school, impressed a lot of people, and was hired as an assistant to George Washington, who mentored him and treated him like a son. Alexander Hamilton grew up to become a war hero, a lawyer, a congressman, and the first Treasury Secretary of the brand new United States of America
Alexander Hamilton worked his tail off, but listen to his story carefully and there are many others who supported him, who trained him, who mentored him. First there was the merchant who took Hamilton into his home and taught him job skills, then the community that provided money to send him to college (at a time when money was needed everywhere after a devastating hurricane!). Once in New York, Hamilton wasn’t living on the street, he boarded with a tailor’s family while he went to school, and then as a young adult he had George Washington serving as a mentor and advocate. Hamilton’s hard work and brains plus opportunities and support culminated in his success in life and his role as a founding father. If his community hadn’t stepped up, it is unlikely that any of this would have happened.
Ann P. Craig
Jackson Street Youth Services
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Jackson Street Youth Services PO Box 1984 Albany, OR 97321
PO Box 285 Corvallis, OR 97339
Jackson Street Youth Services is an equal opportunity provider and employer.