Fighting Youth Homelessness

Taz Tagore writes about her life's work—giving homeless youth hope and a chance at happiness through mindfulness.

I was sixteen the first time I walked into a homeless shelter, and I was sure it was an accident. I was looking for a student art show, not broken youth. But a voice within told me to stick around. There was something here for me. I spent the afternoon talking with the youth, and found that we had much in common. I was the adolescent child of parents who fled their home country overnight and found shelter in Canada. I too felt lost, disconnected and unsure of how to express myself in the world.

When my suffering met the youth’s suffering, my heart opened. I spent the next decade raising awareness and funds for homeless youth. The work was helping others, but it was also changing me. I was learning to lead others and to express myself. I was also developing insight into my real purpose in the world.

As my desire to serve deepened, the more frustration I felt with the homeless sector. Homeless youth are not just materially impoverished; often, their spirits have been broken by sexual abuse, neglect, prostitution, trauma, isolation and physical violence. Where were the organizations addressing the spiritual needs of…