April 2, 2020

Michael’s Story

Michael is 21 years old and is currently living in his own apartment but the road to get to Covenant House was a long and painful journey. 

He grew up in the streets of Brooklyn, where there were gangs, drugs and violence everywhere. He knew, he wanted more from his life. When his cousin was murdered, as an act of gang violence he chose in that moment to not have anything to do with those types of things.

He lived with his mother and sister and had a father, who was not in the picture. In the relationships his mother found herself in, it led to abuse inflicted upon Michael. She always chose men over her kids and that hurt him and his sister deeply. 

At 16, his family moved to Irvington, New Jersey. Family life continued to be challenging. Every time there was an argument, his mother’s boyfriend would throw his things on the curb and kick him out. 

Michael couch surfed between friends and family not really knowing what his next day would look like. 

One of the scariest and darkest nights was when he slept in Irvington Park. It was cold and lonesome. There were days when he didn’t have any food and sleeping was the only way hunger pains would go away. 

Despite all of this, he still managed to graduate high school. 

Michael found out about Covenant House through a friend and walked through the doors at 19. Quickly, he learned that Covenant House was a place that could provide food, a warm bed, and lots of love. 

Participating in our Dove Learning Center, he learned to budget and save, realizing he couldn’t just spend money on the fun things he wanted to. He became encouraged by the rapid growth he saw within his savings account and managed to save over $4,000. 

He also took advantage of some of the opportunities in the DLC like creating videos . Becoming a Peer Leader, Michael mentored others and volunteered in the community. Doing things like dying Easter Eggs at a senior center, to packing food at food banks and distributing food at Penn Station. “I knew first hand, what something as simple as a sandwich would mean to them,” Michael said. 

Holding onto his faith that kept him grounded, Michael attended church every Sunday. 

Michael left Covenant House with his own apartment and job. He has dreams of being a Correctional Officer and going back to school. His passion is in making people smile and bringing joy to the lives of others. He holds onto the belief that with hard work, he can have the life he’s hoping for. He says, “Covenant House is a place full of a support that feels like family.”