Cast aside

Josh_thumbJosh’s mom worked hard to provide for her three kids on her own, but there was love and understanding in their house. When she met her future husband, everything changed. He was a bully to her kids and her, but she could not find the strength to leave.

Josh’s new step-father would threaten and harass him constantly, and his once-loving mother no longer defended him. When Josh’s step-father started a physical fight with him, Josh had to leave, but he had nowhere to go.

Feeling hurt and betrayed, Josh spent some time on friends’ couches before arriving at our doors. “I was scared at first, being in the shelter. It took me a month or two to settle in,” Josh recalls.

Once a kid who excelled in baseball and ran for student government, Josh’s recent experience made him guarded and angry. He drank, smoked pot and became extremely overweight. “I was a young, immature punk who didn’t care about the rules,” he mentions. Then he adds thoughtfully, “Well, I was a bit depressed actually.”

Just beneath his seeming indifference, Josh had a strong desire for adults to give him care and acknowledgement. Our youth worker Everton encouraged him towards a positive lifestyle and he started to take regular trips to the gym with other youth. He got some addiction support through us and quit drinking and drugs completely. Josh began to seek out opportunities to demonstrate his potential, so he decided to pursue a placement in our culinary arts program, Cooking for Life.

In Cooking for Life, Josh found community and a place to shine. He worked very hard and impressed our Chef, who hired him to work in our main kitchen. He worked there for a year and always agreed to work at special Covenant House events catered by our kitchen. He was a familiar fixture preparing food and serving staff, youth and guests with a smile.

Through Covenant House connections, Josh secured a job as an assistant manager with a major movie theatre chain where he continues to work today. He speaks with pride and confidence about his success at the company and his goals to rise through the ranks.

Josh recently moved out and now lives in a house with roommates. He is delighted to have a place to call his own. “I didn’t want to be a shelter kid my whole life. Finally having your own place is the greatest feeling ever.” He checks in often with staff to let them know he is doing well. He also still enjoys working out with the fitness community he connected with through Everton and other staff.

Josh is an ambassador for Covenant House and shares his gratitude with others. “Covenant House motivated me to get my life together,” he says. “From the bottom of my heart, I thank Covenant House for making me the man I am today.”

Josh is most grateful that he reconnected with his mom, who is now divorced. He received advice and encouragement from our staff to reconcile. “I regret what happened, but you can’t change the past. We’re really good now.”

2 thoughts on “Cast aside

  1. I am watching my grandchildren grow up with deeply involved , loving parents .It saddens me to know that many children and teens are not so lucky, and that some are homeless. I am thankful for Covenant House .

  2. Do you know why I wanted to support Covenant House? I have a son who is bi-polar and suffers from depression. He is now 30 yrs old. Everything went downhill for my son when he started High School. He got into drugs and started skipping school. I would not give up on him and dragged him kicking and screaming all the way through High School. He graduated and has his Grade 12. All the time he was having depression he would say “Why do you put up with me instead of just throwing me out of the house! I would tell him that his father and I loved him and did not want him to be homeless. That we would get him the help he needed and support him. I did not want my child to become another homeless person on the street. I continue to support you and hope that every person you get off the street will have a better life. My son now has his Welding course and is also an Apprentice Cabinet Maker. He still has depression but I never give up hope that he will live a better life.

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