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Jenell’s Story

When she was 17, Jenell fled an abusive home environment. She spent a few months couch surfing with friends, until running out of places to stay. She dropped out of school and with nowhere else to go, found herself living on the streets. During this time, she started to use drugs to help cope with the anger, pain, and trauma of her past. She was often hungry and became a victim of sexual exploitation as she struggled with meeting basic needs.

One day, after almost six months on the streets, she met a youth who told her about Cocoon House’s Music Program. At first she was highly skeptical, but her friend let her listen to the music he was working on and she decided to accompany him the next time he visited Cocoon House’s Music Studio. It was hard for Jenell to believe there was a safe place she could go for free studio time. Music has been a passion of hers for many years, but had been buried under hardships of everyday life.

When she first visited U-Turn, she was so relieved to have a place to shower and do her laundry. She had dinner with her friend, and he introduced her to Raph, our Music Program Coordinator. She had a lot of questions, but couldn’t wait to get started. She booked a session for the following month, and during that time visited U-Turn daily.

She has now been in the Music Program for over a year, and has recorded a number of original songs, which she credits with helping her begin to heal from her family trauma. Since beginning to work with Raph, Jenell has earned her GED, successfully secured a part-time job, and is currently on a waitlist for housing. After almost 18 months of homelessness, Jenell feels more in control of her life, and is looking forward to her next chapter. For Jenell, music helped her heal and began her transformative journey to restoring her self-confidence and worth.