Elaine Simons is rightfully proud of her work, having spent years at street youth drop-in centers, first in New York, teaching homeless teenagers to use "art as a communicator" for confronting the complexities of their situation. After she moved to Seattle almost 20 years ago, she made waves helping a group of kids put on a benefit concert for their cause, which led to her current role as director of Peace for the Streets by Kids from the Streets.
But she is not nearly as proud of this as she is of the youth who made it happen. With the belief that minors need to be "at the table" when it comes to making decisions about their own future, Simons has helped homeless teenagers and adults in their early 20s learn to make decisions, educate and speak for themselves, and has integrated these kids into helping design programs for other homeless youth.
At the busy and active center in Capitol Hill where she operates, she continues to facilitate programs and dialogues that help kids get clean, find homes, settle disputes and fulfill their experiences as both young adults and as human beings.