When they first met, Jake told his case manager that he just wanted to get better. He said, “I’ve had a rough life; I wish I could write a book about my story.”
As a child, Jake was ridiculed by his family and schoolmates and suffered from depression. When his grandmother died, he lost the last person in his corner. Two years ago, he was charged with forgery for trying to pass off some fraudulent checks. He stayed with an aunt “who didn’t care for me much” during part of his probation, but she kicked him out. He lived on the streets then, sleeping in parks, on bridges—“wherever I could lay my head at.” In August, 21-year-old Jake was admitted to Hilda’s Place transitional shelter—an alternative that a stranger suggested when Jake was contemplating suicide.
At the shelter, with the assistance and encouragement of his case manager, Jake began to change his life for the better. Today, he is more confident, stably housed in a transitional living program for young adults, and enrolled in a culinary arts training program in hopes of becoming a full time chef.
We think that, when Jake writes his life story, the first 21 years will be just the first chapter.