A Better Life: Justin’s Story | Interfaith Sanctuary

A Better Life: Justin’s Story

Justin has been with us for five years off and on. Last year, after he met one of our volunteers that was in the technology field, which is something that enthralls Justin, he decided to focus on his education. Justin went to school every week for six months. When he wasn’t at school he volunteered around the shelter day and night.

In May of this year he took and passed the GED test. Immediately after passing the GED we helped him apply for Boise State University, which was his school of choice. After writing a very persuasive essay about why his life would be improved if he was allowed to attend, he was accepted into BSU and given a housing assignment on campus.

As this was going on, his work ethic shined through. When the summer came and all of his friends were out floating the river and having a good time, Justin was back at the shelter donating his time and staying focused on  getting out of the shelter for good. Justin’s final financial aid award came through and even with the grants and loans he was able to get he is still a little bit short for the first semester. I am sure we can all remember the cost of going off to school for the first time, I certainly remember it costing much more than I expected.

Justin has no family to support him on his journey. His mother was a prostitute whom he never knew and his father is himself homeless. He has no grandparents or other family that would traditionally support a young man who is working so hard to make a better life for himself. Justin has the drive to succeed. He talks about his future and about getting a degree in computer science. He wants to go on to graduate school and become a professional in the technology field. This is amazing for someone who grew up in homelessness and has seen failure his entire life.

Justin's story

 

I used the university’s online calculator to estimate his need for assistance and this is what I came up with. We need to help Justin raise $3,232 to cover all of his expenses for this school year. Here is what that looks like:

Justin’s estimatedEXPENSES and Financial Aid

Tuition

$ 3,740

Housing and Meal Plan

$ 4700

Books

$ 600

Personal Expenses and new school clothing

$ 1000

Computer and book bag

$800

Total cost for Justin

$10,840

FINANCIAL AID Awarded

$ 7,608

Shortfall for 1st Semester

($ 3232)

Justin will eventually find a job on campus that will help him with some of the personal expenses. But, Justin has been homeless for his entire life, and his clothing represents that fact. I would like to take him shopping and get him clothing that will help him feel successful before he even starts his classes. I am sure we can all relate to the fact that when we look good, we feel good. I also think it is extremely important for Justin to be equipped with a laptop computer and book bag. I like Apple, mostly because of the stability, but anything would be very helpful. If anyone has a decent Apple computer they would be willing to donate, I think we can take it to the Mac Store downtown and have it cleaned up and updated with the latest version of OS. If there is anyway you can help me help Justin, I would truly appreciate it.

For more information you can contact Justin’s case manager, Tim Flaherty at tim@interfaithsanctuary.org.