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From Homelessness to a High School Formal

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It’s the little things that can mean so much to a teenager whose only idea of “normal” is homelessness. Things like having a safe place to stay, regular meals, access to showers and clean clothes to change into- or going to your high school dance with someone you really like.

Patrick Sullivan, the Program Director at IYR’s Hays Shelter Home, shared this great story about how much those “little things” added up for one of our current Hays residents.

Kyle has stayed with us at Hays more than once. He and his mom have been living off and on (mostly on) at the Interfaith Sanctuary homeless shelter in downtown Boise for the past three years. I remember Kyle from his first stay at Hays because he wore his school uniform seven days a week. Often he would even sleep in those same clothes, as do many of our homeless kids and kids who have been abused. He sported that maroon polo shirt and khaki pants day in and day out.

Remarkably, Kyle has always been a good student and is doing great in school now, though it hasn’t been easy with all the moving around and not knowing where he would stay some nights. Due to his mom’s mental health issues she and Kyle were removed from Sanctuary. Though his mother loves him and wants the best for her son, Kyle has had to take care of himself for most of his life. Kyle is the epitome of the resilient youth. He takes chaos and turmoil in stride.

Last week I saw an interagency transfer form from one of our thrift stores come across my desk.  It listed a suit jacket, a shirt, a tie, pants, a belt and dress shoes. I started asking what or who this purchase was for. That is when my staff showed me the photo taped to Kyle’s bedroom door. It was a shot of him and his date sitting on the stone bench in the Hays Shelter Home backyard, next to the fire pit, just before they left for their fall formal school dance.

Kyle looked great, dressed to the nines in his complete thrift store outfit. His beaming smile said it all. Kyle just wants to be a normal kid. The Idaho Youth Ranch is helping him be just that.  A special thanks to all of our donors and to the dedicated people of IYR’s thrift store team for doing what you do and making moments like this possible for kids like Kyle.

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