A Space to Dream
This is *Fernando. He is a brave 23 year old who has been on the streets since he was 8 years old. Because of the abuse he suffered at the hands of his family at such a young age, he saw the streets as a safer option. Fernando is not close to any of his family members and his mother struggles with mental illnesses. It has been years since he has seen or spoken to his family members. Because he has no contact with his family, Fernando has had no support system and has been living day to day on the streets. Every day, he supports himself by washing car windows while the cars are at a stoplight.
A few years ago we met Fernando and he would always greet us with a shy smile. He disappeared for a while and we found out later he spent a year in prison. A few months ago Fernando started coming to the community center with a friend and since then we have begun to connect with him on a deeper level. He is a now regular attender to most of the programs. He enters a room with a smile and a hug. He is curious about life and always asking questions. He comes most Monday’s to the education program and has starting dreaming about how an education could help him move forward in life. He recently told us, “Please don’t leave my life you guys are helping me and encouraging me and none of my family does that. I need your support.”
The community center gives kids like Fernando a space to dream. A place to grow mentally, physically, and spiritually. It provides a “supportive family” for those that need that support, love, and extra push to begin to dream of their life beyond the streets.