Imagine being a teenager, alone, with no place to call home. That's the harsh reality for these four young people, and hundreds more like them.
Jason is the oldest of four children. Things have always been tight financially for his family. When Jason was younger his dad was injured in an auto accident and hasn’t been able to work since. Then the economy turned bad and Jason’s mom was laid off from her job early last year. When the family lost their home to foreclosure, they moved into a cramped two bedroom apartment. When Jason turned 18 and graduated from high school, his heartbroken but financially desperate parents asked him to make plans to move out. He was able to quickly get a part-time job and stay with some older friends at their place. But, when his part-time job ended, he wasn’t able to find other work and his friends kicked him out. He stays short periods at his parents and with other friends sometimes. He hasn’t told his parents he is out of work and homeless.
Carina is 14 now, but ran away when she was 13. When her parents split up and her dad moved away, her mom became really unhappy and started drinking more. Then there were the string of boyfriends in the house, because her mom couldn’t stand to be lonely. Carina took off when the last boyfriend wouldn’t keep his hands off her. At the time, she was sure she could go live with her dad. But when she got off the bus in Kansas City and went to his last address, her dad was long gone. Carina thought she lucked out when Darryl gave her a ride, bought her dinner and let her stay with him that first night. He had a nice car, nice clothes and a nice place. Carina soon found out she was not the first, and would not be the last girl that Darryl picked up. Though Carina has only been turning tricks for a year, she feels as if she’s been trapped in the world of prostitution forever.
Antwan came from a good home. His parents were maybe a little strict, insisting he go to church twice a week, but he felt that they loved him. However, Antwan never felt fully accepted by the family. They discouraged him from pursuing some of his artistic interests. His father wanted him to learn about the construction industry and take over the family contracting business someday. When Antwan came out about his sexual orientation a few months ago, he found out how conditional his parents’ love was. They were outraged and kicked him out. At first, he stayed with his aunt. But she felt pressure from his parents and some church members, and eventually asked him to leave. Antwan has been living on the streets, in and out of shelters for several weeks now. Every day is a struggle to find a meal and somewhere to sleep. He doesn’t see how he’ll be able to complete his high school, and his plan to attend college is a fading dream.
Desiree was first placed in foster care at age nine due to her parents’ drug addiction and neglect. Her baby brother Tyrel was placed in a different foster home during that time and she missed her entire family terribly. Desiree was thrilled when her mom finally got clean and she and Ty were able to go home. When Desiree was 12, her mom and dad got back together. Her mom soon began using drugs again and lost her job. Her dad supported the family by selling drugs for several years. Desiree did her best to cook and clean, and she often missed school to stay home and take care of Ty. By age 15, Desiree was failing in school and had begun experimenting with drugs herself. Then her mom and dad were arrested. When she and Ty were split up again in foster care, Desiree saw no reason to try to hold it together any longer. So she ran away from her foster placement and stays with various people her parents knew. Desiree gets high daily to escape her current reality.
Synergy gives help to young people throughout the community. Your support makes a big difference...