SPOKANE, Wash. -- A Spokane woman credits a local organization for helping her turn her life around.
Lynda White said she was she was alone on the streets at 14-years-old where she struggled to stay out of trouble. She said she did not know her potential until someone from TeamChild reached out to her when she was 17.
White said more needs to be done to help teens in our community struggling with homelessness.
White moved to Spokane from Detroit, Michigan at 14-years-old with her mother and six other siblings. She said they stayed in a two bedroom home and many of them had to sleep on the floor. Her mother would disappear for days at a time.
"Me being one of the older ones and more responsible I had to be like this is what we're going to have for dinner, you have school tomorrow, this is what needs to be done so it got to a point where it was I can't do this anymore," said White. "So she said I don't want you here anymore and she called the police on me and had me removed from the house."
White was left with nowhere to turn. She struggled to find the basic necessities and started getting into trouble at school.
"A few times I slept outside in the park, or the baseball field at school that way I was closer to school," said White.
White was in an out of juvenile detention until finally she was connected to someone from TeamChild. They helped place her in a group home and eventually helped her get into Hutton Settlement where things finally improved.
"It showed me a whole ‘nother life, a life I'd never known before. It was kind of amazing and here I am today," said White. "I'm 21 now and I just graduated from massage therapy school, I work at a Yoke's as a cashier, been there 4 years, and now I'm ready to start a whole new chapter in my life."
White wants to help other kids dealing with the same problems she once struggled with. She said she is one of the lucky ones and not everyone gets the help she did.
"I don't know where I would be I tell people I'd be in jail or not here," said White. "I was suicidal so I had two directions I was going to go to jail like the rest of my family or not be alive but with help I've gotten it allowed me to be here."
TeamChild helped more than 170 kids in 2014. TeamChild leaders said 71 percent had juvenile records and 23 percent were struggling with homelessness.