Living Documents

For 30 years The Back Door, now The Doorway, has assured young people that our first priority is to listen to them.

Our archives hold every piece of writing and art, of each person who has participated with our community in their journey of exiting the street and their process of integrating back into mainstream.

We are the listeners. Writing and art collected over the years communicate reality at a point in time, the documented experiences of how young people see and feel the world we have created for them.

The Doorway is a learning environment where mutual listening is the magic of creating the safe space for new ideas and choices and affirmation of hope. We all grow when we really hear and our brain takes us the unexpected places we need to discover and accomplish.

30 years of listening every day to young people on the edges of our society is beyond profound. It is an honor to be trusted to listen and to hear their thoughts and perspectives.

The Back Door was created in 1988 as a community project, a community response with a singular purpose of listening to young people and to learn from them about how they experience our society, and how community people can understand and be useful to their exit from the street culture.

The name, The Back Door, resonated with young people for whom front doors were often closed. Young people intuitively understood the safety of a back door and their access through it. In 2005 The Back Door renamed itself The Doorway.

The Doorway opened a more robust process of including community people as a critical element to the acceptance and belief in the young people inside.

Our society continues to document young people in databases that are formatted around their behaviors. They become data on the lists that seek funding to fix them. There are no formal opportunities to hear and respect them as persons.

LIVING DOCUMENTS is intended to offer you a direct opportunity to hear and see and imagine and feel the realities of their lives. They do not seek pity. They seek to be understood and respected.

Together we offer this Journal as an anthology, offering you an opportunity to know their capabilities and their grace extended to us in their learning to fit and create their own space to belong.

Marilyn Dyck

Living Documents Available:


  • Humainologie will be carrying our Living Documents 2 as of Nov.3/19.


Living Documents Publishing

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