“Life isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon.”

former homeless youth at Covenant House Texas, Sasha

In today’s blog, we’re sharing Sasha’s story from Covenant House Texas to illustrate the importance of mental health care while facing homelessness. 

We have always known that truly holistic mental and physical health care are vital to overcoming homelessness. Once young people have a safe place to sleep, the next steps to heal from their time unhoused take effort, time, and trust. Delivered by our staff with absolute respect and unconditional love, our services give young people the space to feel safe and begin the journey of healing and overcoming homelessness. 

As Sasha puts it, “Life isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. We all run it at our own pace, and sometimes it means trying again after a change in course. No matter where you place your finish line, the hard work it took to cross it is the payoff we all want to achieve.”

Sasha's story, as told by Covenant House Texas continues, noting that Sasha is now in her second stay with our community. After being kicked out of the home by her mother and following a brief stay in the hospital, the 22-year-old was referred to Covenant House Texas in early June. Sasha made it all the way to the two-year Rights of Passage program before deciding to leave in July on her birthday.

“I wasn’t feeling like myself. I’m so used to being independent and doing everything myself, it was hard to accept help. I don’t trust easily because of everything that has happened in my past,” said Sasha.

From there, Sasha attempted to fix the relationship with her mother, but things didn’t work out, and she was once again out on her own. Sasha felt some apprehension about rebuilding some of the relationships she had with other youth and staff at Covenant House because for young people who have been at risk of or experienced homelessness, every relationship built on trust is hard-earned. Despite her apprehension, she knew Covenant House was the place she needed to be to move forward with her life. And our staff were there to welcome her back.

Sasha took advantage of the on-campus mental health resources, and being able to build relationships with staff gave her the safe space she needed to be herself.

“My first time here, I tried to do therapy, but I don’t like talking about my feelings or crying in front of people because I don’t want them to see that I’m hurt,” said Sasha. “I’ve found that just talking to the staff about what is going on is my therapy.” Building community with the other youth is another benefit Sasha is grateful for. “You understand that you are not alone, and there are definitely other youth who have been through the same thing as you, and who have probably even experienced worse than I did,” said Sasha. “And then it’s even harder for mothers. So I have this mentality of, if they can do it with kids, I know I can do it.”

When asked about her long-term goals, Sasha shared she prefers to make short-term goals that are achievable because it keeps her motivated. Looking forward, she plans to rejoin the Youth Advisory Council, which she was a part of during her first stay. She’s also preparing for life after Covenant House. She has two jobs and is saving money so she can get her own apartment. With the help of the on-campus education services, Sasha plans to return to college at Texas Southern University, where she wants to join the track team while working towards a degree in education and minor in kinesiology.

She doesn’t get much free time, but it works for her because in Sasha’s own words, “I was born to hustle. I was born into a family who worked, so working was like breathing for me. I’ve always worked.”

An avid lover of sports, Sasha is a huge fan of the Los Angeles Lakers and, despite growing up in Houston, loves the New Orleans Saints (and she wants Deion Sanders to be their coach).

Her journey to Covenant House Texas was not an easy one. Despite that, she’s determined to cross that finish line by any means necessary.

“The plan is to be a teacher and coach because I’ve always wanted to go back to my high school and teach and coach there as well,” said Sasha. “I guess that’s my long-term goal.”

Shelter Is Only the Beginning

From crisis to care: Find out what it's like when a young person enters our doors.