Youth House Grad Aiming for Goodness, Peace

Categories: Email Newsletter, Homeless Aid
Date: Thursday, May 28 2020

Having survived from the start, Amethyst is learning to enjoy life

Hi, my name is Amethyst Swanson. I am 18 years old and a graduate of the St. Vincent de Paul Youth House. I lived in the house during my senior year of high school and moved out in September of 2019 to my own apartment.

Girl celebrating birthday
The turnaround of a lifetime, and a birthday cake, too.

Before entering the Youth House, I was a different person. I was very stressed and uptight because I had no home or space that was mine. At the time, I was working more than I was going to school because I needed money to feed, clothe and take care of myself. I was on my own; an unaccompanied student navigating life and school without a parent.

The Youth House gave me a safe space when I needed it. There were expectations and stability that I needed. I didn’t always like having rules to follow, but I knew they were in place to keep us safe.

The Youth House provided this safety as well as food and other resources. During my time at the house, I accomplished many things including maintaining employment, graduating early from Willamette High School, enrolling in Lane Community College, participating in Eugene-Springfield’s Young Women’s Fire Camp, and transitioning into my own apartment where I am living now.

Willamette H.S. Principal Dan Hedberg does the honors as Amethyst receives her high school diploma one academic year early.

Now, even though I still work a full-time job while attending classes at LCC, I have found ways to put myself first so I can be at peace. Life is constantly changing, so I don’t know who I want to be in the future. I do know that I want to be a good person though.

If I could offer one thing to my younger self, I would tell her to take time for herself because I didn’t start doing that until really recently. It’s not easy when you learn to work for survival from such a young age. I’ve learned how important it is to practice self-care, even if it’s just tiny things like getting your hair done or getting your nails done. To make a time out of your day or week for yourself to have something you enjoy, brings a lot of peace. 



To learn more about
St. Vincent de Paul's Youth House Program, click here.