Port Townsend woman offers safe haven, lessons in living for local teens

PORT TOWNSEND — It is the first day of school, and Julia Cochrane is up and moving early at her house at the foot of Umatilla Avenue.

An educational assistant at Blue Heron Middle School, she has to be out the door by 7:30 to stand crossing guard duty — an orange flag in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other — before putting in a long day in the classroom, helping students figure out the intricacies of math and science.

But first, she must deal with the logistics of getting four of the five teenagers in her house up and off to high school. Excluding her 16-year-old daughter, Nina, the students are the latest in a stream of young people she has opened her home to over the last 25 years, young people who, for one reason or another, have needed a place to stay before making the leap to adulthood.

“I give them a firm platform to take off from,” Cochranee said. “They need some place to be a kid a little longer.”

Cochrane is an official co-parent, or custodial parent, for teenagers whose parents cannot provide them with a stable home or who, for other reasons, do not live with their parents.

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The rest of the story appears in Tuesday’s Peninsula Daily News Jefferson County edition.

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