This spring John* will graduate from Chief Sealth International High School (CSIHS) with a full IB Diploma. While we celebrate all graduates, John is special. He has worked overtime to make it through high school, and we're so proud of him for doing it.
During his junior year, John reached out for help. He wasn't getting enough food, and he was always hungry. The pantry at CSIHS (part of the school's Clothing Closet) offered John food to take home. His home though, wasn't really a home. He slept in an empty White Center storefront, on the ground. He was exhausted from getting poor sleep, and in need of support.
Different community based organizations helped John out with gift cards for food, an air mattress for the floor, and clothing when possible. All the while John kept coming to school and taking IB courses.
Things got harder for John when he lost the place he had been staying. He was truly homeless, and trying hard to stay out of underage homeless shelters, far from his school. John stayed with friends, bouncing from couch to couch. Eventually one of his friend's mom said that he could stay with their family until he turned 18 - as long as he paid $200/month for rent.
A community based grant was applied for so that John could focus on school and getting into college his senior year, instead of focusing energy on getting a job. This grant seemed secure, but fell through at the last minute, leaving John $800 in debt.
Meanwhile, John continued to work hard at school, and got himself into UW Bothell! We are so proud of his hard work, but know that more than anything he wants to pay back the family that helped him get there.
We are reaching out to our community to help us raise money for this incredible young person. We want him to move on to college free of debt, and feel ready to start his new life. Any money raised over the $800 needed, will go to help John get set up in his freshman year at UW.
John truly is a wonderful example of resilience and hard work. As a former school social worker, and a current CSIHS volunteer, it has been my honor to know him. Thank you for joining me and supporting him.
*This student’s name has been changed to protect his privacy. All money will be directly transferred to student.