Life after Covenant House
Angelyss is a 17 year-old senior in high school. She works hard to get straight A’s and her academic advisors say she has a shot at getting into some of the best universities in the country. So what’s her connection to Covenant House? She lived there 15 years ago, with her mom, Carolina.
Carolina grew up in poverty. Her mother’s untreated schizophrenia sometimes forced them to live in homeless shelters and her father was unable to help because he struggled with drug addiction. Carolina was 16 when Angelyss was born and they lived in a city-run shelter at the time. Angelyss’ father was unsupportive, her grandfather was in jail, and her grandmother’s mental health was deteriorating. Carolina quickly ran out of friends who were willing to let her and a newborn stay on their couch. Several times, their only option was a towel that they laid down on the floor for the two of them to sleep on together. Scared, tired, and tired of feeling scared and tired, Carolina was determined to prevent Angelyss from growing up in the environment that she did.
A friend told Carolina about Covenant House and she was accepted into the Mother & Child Program. She and Angelyss were assigned a room that they shared with another mom, Rosemary, and her infant daughter, Syanne.
Carolina told Angelyss it was a hotel and reassured her that everything was going to be ok. She quickly got a job as a security guard and Angelyss spent her days in the Covenant House daycare program. Carolina and Rosemary became friends and talked a lot about about their jobs and housing options while Angelyss and Syanne laughed, played games, and held their noses while they ate their vegetables – just like typical little girls.
Carolina continued to work and save money, and, with the help of her case manager, she secured an apartment of her own. She and Angelyss still live in that same apartment today. Carolina has been working as an assistant to a group of physicians for more than ten years, one of whom recently offered Angelyss advice about her college search.
Angelyss has her eyes set on college, and is looking at schools with good medical programs. As she prepares to go away, overcome with excitement about the possibilities, she shared with us that a day doesn’t go by without her thinking what her life would be like if Covenant House wasn’t there for her mom all those years ago:
“I learned my ABCs & how to count at Covenant House, and I made my first friend there,” Angelyss told us. “We remain close with Syanne & Rosemary and consider them our family. It’s an honor to represent the impact that Covenant House has on homeless kids. Covenant House changed my life – and my mom’s life – and I promise not to take this opportunity for granted.”