“At 16 years old, I tried my hardest to take care of my mom, my brothers, and myself. I got a job at McDonald’s and would work as many hours as I could to pay the rent and put food on the table. One night, I found my mom asleep on the floor and strange substances on the table. That night, I packed up and took my little brothers to my grandma’s house. I love my grandma, but her house was filled with my brothers and cousins. I knew I couldn’t stay.
I took a chance and moved to New York City where my grandfather lives. After a few months, he became convinced that I was doing drugs like my mom and dad. I begged and pleaded that he believe me or drug test me to prove that I wasn’t using. He asked that I pack up and leave.
I slept on park benches, if I slept at all. Tired of life on the streets, I found an adult men’s shelter. There was a lot of drugs and violence. An older resident there told me about Covenant House International. He said it was a shelter for young people like me. My dream is to get my GED, go to college, and study aeronautical engineering. At Covenant House, that dream is closer than ever. I am one story of hundreds here, and on behalf of all of those young people choosing a better life I say: thank you for allowing us to chase our dreams.”