This is auction season. Spring is filled with auctions and many other fundraising events for incredible organizations. Which can be so overwhelming as many of your mailboxes are stuffed with invitations. You are stuck between choosing which events to attend and wanting to not have to go to another one! I would feel the same.

During this season it is often times hard for me to not get caught up in the demands of the auction; sponsorships, verbal items, decorations, themes, videos. It’s easy to forget why we do our auction. I have to remind myself often that our auction is there to help better serve the at-risk and homeless youth of Lane County. Sounds so mechanical but it’s the truth. I believe that together as a community we can achieve the impossible, to end youth homelessness.

As my mind is swimming with names and numbers, my phone is filled with voicemails, and my inbox is full I am reminded of what an honor it is to have those things. Those names, numbers, voicemails and emails are filled with people who believe in the mission of Hosea. Even more than that, they believe in a future for the young people we serve.

The auction is such a sweet time for me to be reminded of the “why”. God begins to flood my mind with the faces of the 250 young people we served last year. The auction gives us a platform to communicate and tell the stories behind the amazing faces we get to see. For the past two years 10 to 12 youth have chosen to be vulnerable and honest and have allowed us to share their story with the community that they live in. This year again we are excited to share updated and new stories of some of the youth who are part of our Life Skills Classes.

This community is so generous. You are faithful and committed servants to seeing the needs of your city met. Whether that support is through prayer, your time or your finances this city has an incredible community.

Here is a sweet reminder of the “why”…

Both of my parents suffer from chronic illnesses. In particular, my father has paranoid schizophrenia. I was taken away from my parents when I was 9 years old because they were deemed as not responsible enough to care for a child. Especially since I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and required medical care.

I was placed into foster care at 9 and remained there until I was 15. That year I had a failed adoption and DHS was going to put me into a juvenile facility — even though I had done nothing wrong. Their reasoning was that the facility had medical staff and DHS couldn’t find another foster placement that could provide the medical treatments that I needed.

Eventually (when I was still 15), my caseworker helped me move back in with my biological family, but I wasn’t prepared for what they had going on. My mom was a severe alcoholic and had issues. Even though I was paying the rent with my SSI checks, she was drunk and abusive towards me, so I left. I wasn’t ready to go back into foster care so I became homeless for eleven months. My mom was my payee for my SSI checks so the money did not come directly to me and this attributed to why I was on the streets for so long. During my time on the streets I was trapped within an abusive dating relationship and I suffered two miscarriages. However, I was eventually able to end the relationship.

I was almost 16 when I first came to Hosea Youth Services. I was walking by the Drop In and saw kids around my age, so I went inside. Hosea has served as my complete support system, which is why I continue to come back here. All my friends and people who care about me are here.

I ended up getting into Job Corp and bought a vehicle. I also was in a much healthier relationship but found out that I was pregnant early on. So, I went through a housing program and worked at different jobs for a while to save up money.

I chose to stop receiving my SSI checks when I turned 18 because, I didn’t want that to be my main start in life. I graduated from high school last year while I was still pregnant with my son, Tobias. I now have an apartment and am currently enrolled at Lane Community College through a sponsorship. I still come to Hosea’s because of the supportive people and that’s why I bring my son here as well. Life is great even though some things have made it difficult.

I want to go into the medical field and to serve as a missionary outside of the United States. I’m also hoping to study abroad and to learn another language, so I can break down the language barrier and help people. Ideally, I would love to go to New Hope Christian College someday and I am well on my way to achieving these goals!

Thank you for all you do.

~Karri Tinnes, Director of Operations

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