All of the young adults who will make 66 West their new home will bring baggage with them. Most of the time it's the physical baggage they carry that holds all of their worldly possessions. But sometimes it can also include the baggage that you can't always see- the baggage the carries the fears and hurts of past experiences.
Recently, a young woman came to see 66 West as part of her intake process. All during the visit, the woman seemed defensive and reticent, not wanting to talk very much. She didn't seem very excited about moving in; in fact, she appeared rather reluctant about the whole thing.
As her visit came to an end, she asked if she could see one of the units. When she entered the studio apartment, tears started to form in her eyes. But these weren't tears of sadness; her smile revealed these were tears of joy. She began to excitedly take pictures with her cell phone. The young woman explained why she acted the way she did earlier. She had spent most of her childhood in foster care, until she aged-out at 18. Her time in foster care made her accustomed to dealing with angry adults who didn't treat her with any sense of respect. What she saw that day at 66 West were adults who were kind and respectful and she didn't know how to deal with that. Years of mistrust made her think this new experience would be no different from others in her short life, but the kindness shown to her that day began to melt a heart hardened by pain.
"This is gonna be okay," she said.