It’s Scarleteen’s 20th birthday. I feel like Scarleteen is ALL GROWED UP. Millions of people who have used Scarleteen over the last two decades, or have been part of it as volunteers or other staff, are now, too. Some of us who were part of Scarleteen as teenagers are even now the parents of teenagers or soon-to-be’s ourselves.
This got us thinking: with 20 years of user, volunteer and staff involvement, how did you grow up with and through Scarleteen? We’ve got some answers to that question from a few other Scarleteen alums below, but first, I want to share a piece of my own growing up story.
I feel grown up in a lot of ways because of Scarleteen.
I was 18 years old, pregnant and scared. When I was somewhat housebound due to shame, Scarleteen was there for me with support and encouragement throughout my pregnancy and early years of parenting. They treated me with more respect and dignity than most of my family, friends, school staff, medical personnel or strangers did. They were realistic, accurate and kind.
When my partner was abusive and my child was very young, I was terrified and isolated. Scarleteen taught me about abuse, what healthy relationships could look like and provided resources. They didn’t give up on me when I didn’t leave right away. They planted seeds. They celebrated with me when I left and created safety for my little family.
With Scarleteen’s love, support and education, I grew up. My process led me from being a Scarleteen user to becoming a Scarleteen volunteer. I had the new-found ability to help others, as well as contribute to this community that I loved so dearly. Through Scarleteen, I found my niche as an educator working with youth; I found my confidence. I stretched my wings with an opportunity provided by Scarleteen to do outreach with homeless youth. My history of trauma became a strength that I used to empower and help others and, as I discovered, it became a strength that I used to empower myself.
All my experiences with Scarleteen not only helped me grow, it also provided ample resume experience and references that I then used to secure other types of employment on my path to growing up.
I’m 31 years old now. After an extended absence, I’m volunteering with Scarleteen again and it feels like home. I will always be immensely grateful for the gifts you’ve given me. You helped shape me into the confident parent, educator, partner, queer, disabled, grown-up human that I am today.
Happy Birthday Scarleteen! I love you.
More Stories from Scarleteen Alums:
Calling all Scarleteen alums: users/readers and former volunteers, writers or other staff! You made your mark on Scarleteen. We want to know: how did Scarleteen influence you in your growing up process? Let us honor your story and give Scarleteen the gift of yourself and your words for this archive.
Contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org to share. Thanks!