A Place to Call Home

Debora

 

"Everything that most people in America take for granted, I struggled to find. Homelessness not only stripped me of my material possessions, it robbed me of my sense of security and stability, and replaced it with unpredictability and fear. This made it incredibly difficult to maintain a job and continue my schooling. When I was introduced to the SOWMA High School Plus program, I was given hope of a better life, one where survival was no longer a priority. Thanks to School on Wheels and Father Bill's & MainSpring I not only have a 'place to stay' but I now have a home."

—Jasmine, Massasoit Community College Student

At 18 years old, Veronica was living at the MainSpring adult shelter, working hard to finish her junior year at Brockton High. Jasmine sometimes lived out of her car, while attending classes at Massasoit Community College. Debora couch surfed between 4 different friends’ places worried about where she would live her senior year in high school. National statistics predict less than 25% of teens impacted by homelessness will graduate from high school; 93% of SOWMA’s students graduate with 83% going on to college. This is a story about three young women who are determined to put homelessness behind them through their commitment to their education, housing assistance and case management from Father Bills & MainSpring, and one-on-one support from School on Wheels staff and their college mentors.

All three students became involved with SOWMA's High School Plus program through referrals from our community partners, Brockton High School vocational counselor, Gloria Rubilar, and Massasoit Community College faculty. Debora was able to attend her senior prom with the help of SOWMA, who purchased her ticket and accessories. A supporter of SOWMA purchased her prom dress and his family provided additional resources and mentoring for her. While Veronica was living at the MainSpring shelter, SOWMA was able to provide her with school supplies, bus passes and gift cards to Walmart for clothing and toiletries. Although support resources and mentoring were provided for Veronica and Debora, their greatest need remained a safe, stable place to call home.

SOWMA partnered with Father Bill's and MainSpring (FBMS), along with Gloria Rubilar this past summer to discuss housing options for unaccompanied youth. Within a few months, FBMS staff secured and furnished a three-bedroom apartment for Debora and Veronica and provided case management support to help them adjust to their new home. Their third roommate, Jasmine, joined them shortly after she became a part of the SOWMA High School Plus program. Utilizing funds from the Sun Life Rising Star grant award, SOWMA provides monthly rental assistance, along with FBMS, which allows the three girls to focus on their academics. Veronica, on earning her diploma from Brockton High and going to Massasoit Community College this fall; Jasmine, on finishing her associate’s degree at Massasoit this year; and Debora, on working hard at Massasoit with hopes of going to medical school one day.

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School on Wheels - MA
100 Laurel Street
Suite 121
East Bridgewater, Massachusetts 02333

508.587.9091

Federal Tax ID 20-1020880
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