Steven’s Story: A Dose of Guidance, Encouragement, and a Big Shove

Steven is a young African-American 19 year-old who has been involved with HomeFront’s children and youth programs for most of his life, both as a participant and as a volunteer. Thanks to HomeFront, he now stands on the verge of adulthood, with a plan for the future

When he was just entering preschool, Steven met Chris Marchetti, who runs the Joy, Hopes and Dreams programs. Steven’s mom was dealing with her own serious issues as he struggled in school. She was not able to give the support he needed, especially help with school work as she herself only had a fifth grade education. As Steven entered

7th grade, he and mom bounced from one place to another. School got to be really tough. Often he did not even go.

Chris took me to tutoring classes,” Steven says. “If I started to struggle in school, either Chris or someone always found help for me. HomeFront was always there to help me through the rough parts.

Over time, I definitely became a better student,” Steven admits. They didn’t do it for me–they just showed me the way.That is the way they do things. It’s not just about helping people–it’s about helping them help themselves.”

HomeFront helped Steven find summer jobs and summer camp experiences. Over the years, he morphed from a participant in the program to a committed volunteer in the very program in which he had been a part.

Giving back is part of what we teach without it actually being a lesson plan,” Marchetti explains. For many kids in Joy, Hopes and Dreams, college is a distant goal and hard for these kids to consider a reality. Marchetti helps kids see their own potential and helpsthem see ways to turn dreams into realities. Steven is a good example.

After I graduated from high school, I could not see a way to go to college. It was just too expensive,” Steven says. “I was just going to work in a store and maybe if things went right, take the civil service test. I talked to Chris just two weeks before college classes started. “He told me that I was a smart kid and could do good things with my life if I would take the ball and run with it,” he remarks.

He talked me into trying college. In those two weeks, other HomeFront staff, in particular, Alicia Portalatin, helped me enroll and figure out how to make it all work.”

Steven is now in his first year of college working toward a degree in architecture. “HomeFront points you in the right direction and then they give you a shove,” he says. Steven is currently a key volunteer working with Chris and Triumphant Teens to help other young people move forward. He provides tutoring and life skills education and assists with transportation. He plans to finish his studies, get a job, have a family, and, in 20 years, still volunteer at HomeFront.

Cheryl’s Story: Moral Support Needed All Along the Way

“I went to WorkFirst because I did not have a job and did not have any real chance of getting one,” Cheryl, a 25-year-old single mom with a 3- year-old baby explains. “I wanted to complete my GED and find a way of making a living.” “It was the only place I could find where I could work on my GED and learn how to get a job–and it worked for me.”

Ronnie’s Story: Reaching for the Stars

I am very goal-directed and I have a plan for my life and Sasha, my 31/2-year-old daughter,” Ronnie says. “The Family Preservation Center helped me realize that not

only should I have a goal – the staff helped me do what I needed to do to get started

accomplishing my goal.”

The Sprouting of a Seed

Homeless children realize some “Joy, Hopes and Dreams”

Val’s Story : Homelessness Can Strike Without Warning

Sara’s Story : HomeFront Client Recalls “My Place of Miracles”