I Was 16 Yesterday

A nonprofit organization

$150 raised by 2 donors

1% complete

$25,000 Goal

Toni Morrison once said “If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.” That is what we intend to do here at I was 16 Yesterday Wellness Center. Write a book on how young adults are to be served! As we have yet to read a book quite like this. We invite you to come along with us, on this amazing journey for youth and young adults to experience how this book will come into fruition.  

Founder/CEO Sebrena Pawley: Growing-up I was part of the NYC Foster Care system.  I often questioned my self-worth. I attempted suicide at the age of 16. After this unsuccessful attempt I met a mentor who would forever change my life. My mentor took me under his wing and taught me that I had value, and how to advocate for myself.  Homeless, and broken he immediately referred me to a Shelter in Manhattan that had wrap around services for homeless youth.  This was the decision that changed the trajectory of my life. While living at this Shelter I became the front desk intake/receptionist. At the age of 16 I witnessed first-hand youth, and young adults who shared my same story. The same story of feeling worthless, and unstable. It was in that moment that I decided I wanted to be a part of changing their lives. My goal in the beginning was to give out daily affirmations to each young person that came into the Shelter. What I didn’t realize is how my life would be shifted. The more I gave of myself to the service of others, was the more it was instilling courage inside of me to step out on faith and trust. This is when I knew I found my gift. This is when I knew I could become a role model which could lead young adults to positive self-efficacy. I have been volunteering and working in direct care with young adults for the past 35 years. I encourage each young adult that comes across my path to find their gift and once found they must give it away. One of my favorite quotes that I share with the young adults comes from Oprah Winfrey: You are worthy simply because you were born. 

We are asking for donations to secure a space,  for paid internships, scholarships, interview clothing, supportive services such as monthly metro cards for transportation. I Was 16 Yesterday Wellness Center is committed to servicing 16-24 year old, In School, High School Graduates, Disengaged from High School, Foster Care, and the LGBTQUIA+ community. Youth and young adults deserve a seat at the table, especially if the solutions concern them! At I Was 16 Yesterday Wellness Center we will encourage youth and young adults to design their own journey. It is time we all open our ears and genuinely make a space at the table for young people to become our partners, and to have a say as to how they want to be served. Our vision is to ensure that all young adults are Valued, Seen & Heard.  

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Organization name

I Was 16 Yesterday

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Education Children & Family Community





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