Back when she was living through homelessness, Oseakina was studying to be a social worker. Now she works at Eva’s Satellite to help young people experiencing homelessness themselves.
“I would say I connect with the youth differently than workers who do not have the lived experience,” Oseakina explains. “It’s natural for me not to judge anybody. I always tell the youth it’s only temporary, this is not it forever, you’re still young, you’ve got a lot more years to go. I give them hope.”
Oseakina’s journey has had many twists and turns.
She was raised by her mother for most of her life, along with her four siblings. When her father moved to her home, his presence changed the dynamic of the family.
“Dad started becoming emotionally, verbally and physically abusive,” she says. “Really, really strict with regards to everything. Couldn’t go outside and play as kids. Gotta be always inside. He was abusive towards me, my sibling, my mother.”
As the abuse continued, Oseakina struggled with substance use. One night, there was a really big fight and Oseakina’s father called the police on her. They asked her if she had any friends to stay with. When she told them she didn’t, they brought her to Eva’s Place. She had never even seen a shelter before.
Oseakina tried to reconnect with her family and live at home again. But within a year the same thing happened and she found herself back at Eva’s Place.
“I decided to get a place for myself,” she says. “I didn’t want to go back to the shelter system. Got myself a little room and I have been on my own ever since.”
Oseakina is open about her experiences with young people at Eva’s.
It’s a point of connection a young person might benefit from. She’s learned that her difficult experiences have uniquely equipped her to work with young people.
“I want to be there for them,” she explains. “If I could be that agent of change, if I could be there to change one person’s life around, that’s all I need.”
Oseakina is also a mentor to her siblings, one of whom is struggling in their own ways. It’s not uncommon for siblings to get separated when one finds themselves homeless. Despite this separation, Oseakina continues to make an effort with her family. That’s truly amazing.
Through the referral of another employee at Eva’s, Oseakina came to join the team. It’s so clear that she takes heartfelt pride in her work and cares deeply about helping young people achieve their dreams.
“It could be a goal as little as I want to hand out my resume today or I want to clean my room today, little things like that is what I live for.,” she says.
Oseakina also speaks to her dreams for young people.
“I would like to see more affordable housing for youth,” she says. “I would like to see more job programs. I feel like that’s part of the key to them growing – it’s employment and housing. That’s what really stabilizes an individual.”
We are so grateful for Oseakina, and all our amazing team members who support young people building brighter futures at Eva’s.