Seventeen going on 30

Nisa Salazar feels like more of mother figure than a sibling to her six-year-old sister. Raised by a single mother, with only sporadic monthly visits from their father, Salazar said she’s is among about one third of youth in Merced who live in single-parent homes. Now 17, Salazar said she feels she must get a […]

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Hiding teen homelessness

At 13 years old, Vrndavana Hines was kicked out of his house and became homeless. He lived out his teens on the streets, but hid that fact from school counselors, friends and others in his life.“Many homeless teens don’t want anyone to know. Not because we don’t need help, but because we have too much […]

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Adulthood delayed by rising rents

Youth Radio reporter Desmond Meagley feels ready to live on his own… until he gets a reality check from browsing available Oakland rentals. His situation is compounded by lack of salary prospects. “[My] roommates and I wouldn’t even be considered unless we made over three times the posted rent. My heart sank. Students like me can’t get jobs […]

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Fixing a broken foster system

Aaliyah Lannerd still remembers the day her family was broken up, as police arrested her father and separated her from her mother. Since then, she has learned first hand some of the trials facing foster youth in the Central Valley. “I was six years old and felt as if I was unwanted and unseen. My foster home was not […]

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Helping young people learn to grieve

Leah Wight found help through support groups on her college campus when she was stumbling through grief after her father’s death from cancer. She realized her younger sister had fewer options to deal with the isolation that comes with grief. “Merced has yet to offer any ‘Sharing Place,’ but we desperately need one… It is inevitable that some of […]

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