Homeless Student

My son's classmate of the last 4 years, now 17 years of age, does not have a safe place to stay and is at risk of not being able to graduate high school because of his homeless state. He’s 17 but turns 18 this week. He showed up on our doorstep last week with his belongings in a bag.  He had been staying at a friend’s house for 3-4 months but had outworn his welcome and needed a new place to live. He’s a loving kid and a strong student earning an A average that is loved and adored by his classmates and teachers.

While he has been unable to sign up for benefits until he turned 18,  he’s also reluctant to “take a hand-out” or take away the benefits his mom receives and used to take care of his mentally disabled older brother (abusive to him).  He’s reluctantly agreed to accept the Youth In Transition bus pass and food stamps, but he needs a permanent place to rent, a permanent part-time job (UPDATE: We have 2 potential offers). He’s the sweetest kid and I’ve let him stay on my couch but he needs hope and a long term solution.   

The first 5 days, I only saw him eat twice, and I am sure that he has not had proper nutrition, as he is so skinny.  He told me he's used to not eating.  I am encouraging him to eat with us, but he is shy about taking help.  With encouragement I have been able to get him to come out of the room and socialize with the family and to feel comfortable eating and getting water to drink.  He is very gracious.   All of my pets adore him (even my protective dog who is suspicous of all people).  I have no reservations about this kid at all and remain in contact with his case manager at school.

His father is deceased ( cancer) and his mother, who finally called me, said she is unable to care for him because she is dealing with a severely disabled adult child. She says she is ashamed, but cannot focus on anything other than her current son's needs due to her own limitations, financially and mentally.

First, he needs a suitcase or something for his clothes. I also hate that he won’t have any birthday or Christmas presents. (Update-I have received suitcase & some clothing & bike, shoes & sleeping bag, pillow).  But he also needs a good affordable place to live and a job, as I want to help him get enrolled in Miramar College when he graduates (he qualifies for free tuition & books). I’ve spoken to the high school (Mt. Carmel High) and they have highest regards of him "he's a great kid". They said because he’s 18 next week the options change for him as an adult.  The options for shelters are not ideal. His mom won’t return calls to the school.  Likely he’d have to go to men’s (18+) shelter and they are far from school in Rancho Penasquitos and many have waiting lists or are more for addicts and mentally ill. I would hate to see that life circumstance make it so he drops out or suffers. With a little community help, there has to be a way to help this honest and sweet guy.

We have received a bike, suit case, lunch money, and some clothes.  I will let him stay with me or at another mom's house until we find him a permanent place where he can rest his head.  I am a single mom myself with two teenage boys but I cannot bear the thought of him not having some security or the chance to feel safe and good.  When I look at this kid, I get such a strong feeling that he can and will be someone in this life.  Please help me make this a reality. He deserves it.  He is just the sweetest, most polite guy ever.  He is so grateful and does not want to be a burden.   While I am a single mom trying to raise kids on my own, I had a similar challenge when I was his age and therefore will not turn my back on him.  With your support, we might be able to give him the tools to succeed. 

Items still needed: 

Blankets, sheets, bed (futon being promsied) , bike helmet, bike lock, basket for bike, back-pack

Stretch Goals & Budget:

$200-laptop computer for homework, resume, job applications, college applications, work

$1500-2000-used car for driving to school and work -or better yet does someone have a used car to donate?

Housing for rest of high school: $800x7 months-room and board for 7 months until he graduates high school

Housing for 1st 6 months of college:

Other help needed:

1. Resume services
2. Financial Training-how to manage his first bank account, money management
3. Big Brother type of support/Leadership/Mentor
4. Help with Roadmap planning for community college, part-time work/
5. Counseling
6. College Planning
7. Tutoring/Help w/Organization
8. Nutrition Guidance 
9. Driving lessons

He is Guamanian,Hawaiian, Rastafarian, Chinese & Cherokee.  If anyone knows whether there college or education groups that might sponsor his college or community school education.

He has been gracious about meeting a few donors/angels, but generally as a mother, I would want to protect him from constantly having to feel shame and to protect his anonymity.  One of his angel's dropped off a bike and some clothes and he leaped to hug them.  He said he has never had anyone be so nice to him or pay so much attention to him.  Thursday he turns 18 and I am going to bake him a cake and have dinner for some of his friends as a suprise. I do not get the impression that he knows what it is like to have someone nurture him.

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Amber De Volk 
San Diego, CA
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