Her living goal was to become the youth worker that she never experienced and to provide a safe place for trafficked youth to live. Over the course of her short life, she stayed at virtually every youth shelter in the Lower Mainland and found them inadequate because they only shelter at night, their locations are disclosed publicly and known to exploiters, and youth are discharged to homelessness after 7 days unless they have a way to pay.
Teesha worked tirelessly to educate service providers about youth-friendly mental health approaches and appropriate help for youth under active exploitation.
She knew that only a youth safe house--in an undisclosed location (to the general public), with no barriers to access (no eligibility criteria beyond age: 13-24), and the ability to keep the youth safe 24/7 for extended periods of time--would be sufficient to provide safety for youth under active exploitation.
Now that Teesha can no longer advocate for homeless youth, which exist in alarming numbers in the Lower Mainland despite a ministry offering barrier-ed services, it is up to each citizen to take up her legacy and advocate for the creation of a youth safe house system for BC that works.
A number of people that knew Teesha are raising funds to help support a future youth safe house. The funds will be dedicated to providing amenities for youth while they reside in the safe house long enough to emerge from survival mode and are ready for secondary supportive housing.
On May 11, 2019, Carol Waters will be hosting a donation-based Afternoon of Healing at the CEED Centre Neighbourhood House if you are interested.