I grew up in a foster home. My foster mom was abusive . . . I got beat a lot. Around 15, I thought, ‘I’m over this.’ I had to go to school with a black eye. Those things forced me out the door. I went from Baltimore to Los Angeles on a Greyhound bus. I freaked out and came back.
My foster mom was abusive . . . I got beat a lot.
I have a twin and we were in the same foster home. He had friends, a childhood, and a social life. But I did cleaning and all the grunt work . . . I got picked for that.
A year later, she hit me in the back of the head with a cast-iron skillet. Within a week, I went back to California and was a ward of the court. I was a foster kid in Maryland and in California — it started my adult life. I eventually dropped out of school and stayed with friends, or couch surfed.
I had a job but nowhere to stay. Behind the Dunkin’ Donuts, between the dumpster and the wall I lived there . . .
Homeless at Christmas
When I think about it now, it was lonely. Beyond the abusive home life, I ended up in abusive relationships. I also had a lot of self-inflicted abuse. At 25, I was drinking a lot and smoking marijuana. Eventually, I found my way to cocaine. I was living on the streets . . . with nowhere to go and nobody to turn to.
I was homeless on Christmas Day. There weren’t very many people on the street. I remember noticing everything so empty. It was like some weird sci-fi movie. Then, it occurred to me that it was Christmas Day.
Finding new life at the Mission
Graduation is a benchmark. I got a GED . . . I’ve already stepped into a new life. It’s like I’ve arrived and I’m home, and my roots are digging deep and healthy. I have a story that I’ve effectively survived. I couldn’t have done that on my own. I’m in school to become a social worker.
Update on Anthony
Anthony has now been hired as a case manager and housing specialist.
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