MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: Sunnie’s amazing journey from foster care to homelessness to thriving!

“Coming to Step Up was like coming home, it’s probably one of the best things that’s ever happened to me!”

If you’d told me that I would’ve been in my own apartment, sober, on the board of directors, you know I would’ve never believed you… They’re more than just staff… they are people who care and care that you succeed, not just care that you get off the streets.” Sunnie on the transformative power of Step Up and its compassionate staff.

Sunnie is a bright 28-year old who joined Step Up in 2013 as a youth. At 3 months old, Sunnie was put in foster care along with her sister and moved all around Los Angeles County. Sadly, Sunnie was abused and sexually assaulted; she began running away from home placements as early as 7 years old. When Sunnie turned 18, she didn’t have anywhere to go and ended up living on the streets for years using drugs as a way to cope with her trauma and homelessness.

Sunnie likes to sit in the window of the fire escape in her building in Downtown Los Angeles to take in the fresh air and relax.

Finding a permanent home with Step Up was just the beginning of Sunnie’s new journey. Through a gradual building of trust with Step Up’s staff at Daniel’s Place, Sunnie began to understand that Step Up would always show up for her no matter what. She was moved into an apartment in Downtown Los Angeles where she could focus on recovery. Sunnie felt the staff genuinely cared about her success. Becoming sober was a big part of the process, “Being on drugs only intensifies your problems so being sober is a big deal. It let me see people as people, instead of just monsters out to get me.

Sunnie credits the Housing First approach with helping her get sober. She’s been housed at Step Up for over 7 years and is working on creating art. She also served on the Step Up Board of Directors where she was able to share her personal insight and experience to help others. “I’m trying to help other people in my shoes become in a better place like I am now,” Sunnie says. “Everyone deserves a roof over their head…no one deserves to be homeless.

Janet Montgomery, Lead Actress of NBC’s Hit Series New Amsterdam.

Sunnie’s story is a testimony of how lives can change when we come together. That is also why Janet Montgomery, lead actress on NBC’s New Amsterdam, urges you to be part of the solution this Holiday Season and make a gift in support of our Help Bring 1,000 Neighbors Home campaign. “David (Step Up Board Member) introduced me to Step Up and I can see, firsthand, the tremendous impact this charity is having and the incredible difference they are making not only helping people on the streets but by ending homelessness. This is a humanitarian issue affecting so many of the most vulnerable in our society. This is why I am honored to work alongside Step Up in their fight to end homelessness.”

With your support, you will help end homelessness and change countless lives—especially those of the most vulnerable young adults’ like Sunnie. Thank you so much for your consideration!

Wishing you and yours a safe, healthy and happy holiday season!


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