You Made Me Forget My World Was on Fire

We received this letter from Jasmine*, a former resident in The Cottage, our temporary shelter care program, which nurtures and stabilizes children who have been removed from their homes for maltreatment or abuse.

Dear Wayfinder,

Maybe you won’t remember me, but I will never forget you. I arrived at your shelter just a few days before my sixteenth birthday. I had finally gotten the courage to call the police to report the physical and emotional abuse I had been suffering at the hands of my mother for most of my life. That phone call turned my life upside down, but I knew that I wouldn’t be able to survive any longer at home.

I only stayed at Wayfinder for 24 hours. But you made me forget my world was on fire. The staff there treated me with dignity, respect and kindness and gave me everything I needed since I had left my home without any of my belongings. I remember playing on that big green lawn with other kids and actually having fun. For a few hours I forgot my troubles. I remember thinking, if I make it, I’m going to do something so that other kids can experience peace like this.

I moved on from Wayfinder to a few other shelters, and eventually, I was placed with a foster family. If you can believe it, I graduated high school early and began community college. I eventually transferred to one of the most prestigious universities in California and earned a degree in film.

The pandemic hit right as I was about to graduate and jobs in the film industry weren’t easy to come by, and I also couldn’t stop thinking about that moment on the Wayfinder lawn. So I expanded my job search to social services and found a position helping foster youth. I’m now working with kids who remind me of myself. Kids whose worlds are on fire, and just need a glimmer of hope from people who care.

Thank you for those precious 24 hours all those years ago. I needed them. The world needs places like Wayfinder and people like your staff who can help kids who were once like me. Maybe we aren’t always easy to love but I promise you, we are worth it. Please don’t give up on us.

Thank you for that day on the lawn. I’ll never forget it. — Jasmine

*name and some minor details changed to protect privacy




Over 1,200 children stayed at Wayfinder’s Cottage last year. The Cottage is our temporary shelter care program for children ages 0-17 removed from their homes for abuse or maltreatment. Children in The Cottage are nurtured and stablized until social workers can find a safe, longer term placement for them, either with relatives or with a loving foster family.

Please consider a gift to Wayfinder today. We need your support, now more than ever.


September 20, 2021