Treasure Island school dedicated to helping homeless youth

TREASURE ISLAND, Calif. (KRON) – The mission of the Life Learning Academy on Treasure Island is trying to give children in San Francisco an opportunity they might not get anywhere else. For the past 25 years, this academy has been helping troubled or homeless teens refocus their lives.

Co-founder Teri Delane sees the need for this resource because she too benefited from a similar home after running away at age 13.

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“Age 14 I had a needle in my arm, getting arrested, incarcerated as a juvenile for drugs,” she said. “The last time I overdosed, I woke up in the hospital and who was there? A mentor. He said you are going to San Francisco Delancey Street Foundation, and that’s where I saved my life.”

Delane has several master’s degrees and a PhD in clinical psychology. She is living proof that you can turn your life around.

Now, she is helping teens like Nixon Ooi turn their lives around as well. Nixon says looking back, it was a life-changing experience.

“I remember just walking in and I had my whole life in a backpack. It was such a surreal experience,” he said. “Growing up in such a bad environment, coming to a quiet dorm, I remember feeling welcomed a lot.”

He was homeless at age 16, but Nixon’s mind is now on college. He is submitting college applications to eight universities, and he plans on studying business.

“Honestly, I think it’s a miracle and I say that genuinely. I ran away at 16. And running away, the odds are against you,” he said. “To have a home, friends, jobs… I feel like my life has been rebuilt.”

Delane says at Life Learning Academy, they practice “radical love.”

“Radical love to me means accountability, safety, great school, academics, paid internships, but they earn it all,” she said.

This academy is a public charter school – part of the San Francisco Unified School District.

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