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Finding Hope at YSS

When Angela Harms was 14 years old, she found her way to YSS Francis Lauer in hopes of creating a different path for her life.

Angela grew up in Swaledale, Iowa, a small town located near Mason City. As a teenager, her mom neglected the family, often leaving Angela to take care of her two younger siblings. Soon, she came to YSS Francis Lauer for guidance and support. “I was pretty weak, and they helped me become stronger,” says Angela. “Without YSS, I don’t know if I would be on the streets because of my situation.”

Angela spent a few nights at YSS Francis Lauer and learned life skills such as cooking and laundry. At the age of 15, she became an emancipated minor, which means she would be able to live on her own. She soon found an apartment in Mason City and worked full-time at Hy-Vee.

“I get teary-eyed thinking about it, even after all these years,” Angela says. “I was 15 on my own. It was hard paying for things. It was just me.”

Now, Angela works as an administrative assistant for the Story County Community Foundation. She says she thoroughly loves what she does because she enjoys helping others. Angela has three children, including her nephew, whom she adopted in 2018.

Wanting to give back to the organization that changed her life, Angela became a YSS mentor. She explains that mentoring a local middle school student has been rewarding and makes her feel like she can finally pay it forward to someone else who needs support, just as YSS did for her.

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