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Daily Inspiration: Meet Lon Vanita Usher

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lon Vanita Usher.

Hi Lon Vanita, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I saw on the news that there was a need to work with youth experiencing homelessness. So I applied and got the job. It has now been 31 years and for me, it is much more like being a role model. I think the interaction with the youth on a daily basis makes me feel like a mother, grandmother, great grandmother for them. Working here, I feel like I get a chance to help navigate the youth towards a better life. I can freely give hugs, I can give them a safe space to navigate their feelings. I get to help them make the hard decisions.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Some of the struggles are getting them to know their self-worth, to find their way in life, and to deal with the struggles of everyday life. Helping them and others to understand the mental health is not a life sentence. Teaching residences how to be a good parent. It takes time and patience. I want to help them understand that role both good and bad.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I have been with Covenant House California for over 31 years. I was a case manager for 24 years. Retired for one year and came back. I now have the privilege of working as the Alumni Coordinator where I get to see the amazing adults our young people have become. The oldest alumni is now 50 years old. I believe that all young people have a place in this world where they can be loved and supported no matter what life throws their way.

Alright, so to wrap up, is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
Please believe in our young people and look for ways to give back to your community and ours through in-kind donations and/or monetary donations. In closing, please look out for our young people and help us end youth homelessness.

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