GET HELP - Are you a young person in need of help?

Date: 04/26/2022

At 31 years old, Mike has seen his share of injustice. Growing up in Atlantic City in a home with limited resources, dysfunction, and disruption, he landed in a juvenile justice facility at a young age due to selling drugs to have money to live. Upon release, Mike returned to that tumultuous home to learn, “My mom put a man before me,” and I could not come back. With no other options, Mike came to Covenant House for a brief period. Here he began to move forward towards a new life. He recalls that his time with us “allowed me to see that people do care in the midst of a crisis.” After leaving Covenant House NJ, his journey took several wrong turns, leading to years of addiction.

Mike, who identifies as Hispanic, says, “I found purpose in school.” Mike enrolled in the Community College of Philadelphia’s (CCP) Collegiate Recovery Program to regain his footing and recover from drugs and alcohol. He believes that education is the only way to pull people of color out of the inequality hole.

The victim mindset is a trap Mike feels keeps many people from overcoming barriers. “Nobody wants to help anybody who doesn’t want to help themselves,” he says. “If you don’t work for anything, you won’t get anything. A person’s suffering will turn into strength and value when they learn how to tell their story. The mindset switch needs to be from victim to survivor.” A switch that aligns with his goal of becoming a child psychologist to help children who come from similar backgrounds as they struggle with many of the same issues. He also wants to stand out in a field where only 1% of psychologists are people of color.

After graduating from PCC, Mike graduated from Cheyney University Honors Academy! Now that he is a collage graduate, his vision is to attend one of their graduate school programs. We are excited to celebrate him as he continues to move forward and make a difference in the world. “I am proud to be the Michael L. that I am today.” We too are so proud of Mike! And, we are so grateful that he is giving back to the Covenant House Community by sharing his story.

Are you a youth in need of help?