Michael-Caruso_Youth-ERA.png
 

YOUTH PEER SUPPORT SPECIALIST | JACKSON COUNTY

 

Mike was born in Salem, Oregon, but he and his family moved to Utah shortly after his birth. His parents were separated, so Mike and his two sisters had to go from one house to the other frequently. When Mike was in the first grade, his parents decided to reconcile and move their family back to Oregon. After settling in Canby, Mike's parents bought a house and started their new life.

When Mike was in the 8th grade, his parents split up again and finalized their divorce. He was devastated and begged his parents to let him go live with his mom, but both parents thought it would be a bad idea since Mike had made a name for himself in Canby sports. Mike told his parents that he didn’t care if he played sports or not; he just wanted to live with his mom. He ended up having to stay with his dad. They didn't always see eye-to-eye and even got into a few physical altercations.

When Mike was 15, he got in trouble for hanging around 19-21-year-olds who didn’t have his best interest in mind. When Mike got a Minor in Possession while hanging out with this group, he realized that they weren’t healthy for his lifestyle. He ended up losing his starting spot on the Varsity baseball team and was sent to play on the freshman team. His dad was furious because Mike had worked really hard to make Varsity at such a young age.

After Mike graduated, he knew he wanted to be somewhere where he could figure out who he was and what he was supposed to do with his life. Mike decided to attend Southern Oregon University and study Criminal Justice. Towards the end of college, he started to realize the flaws in the criminal justice system and decided that he didn’t want to be a part of it. He wanted to find a career where he could work with people in the community. Mike started an internship with Youth Era and quickly fell in love with its mission. After graduating from college, Mike applied to be a Youth Peer Support Specialist and has loved every minute of it. He hopes to help youth learn from his past experiences and support them to live better lives.

Mike is an extremely energetic person from sunup to sundown. His safe haven is the beach. His perfect day is no shoes, no socks, and toes in the sand, walking up and down the Oregon coast feeling the breeze and listening to the water crash on the shoreline. He also enjoys fishing, shooting, and hiking. If Mike isn’t outside, he is most likely streaming on Twitch.