Posts Tagged ‘G.E.D.’

Abandoned Teen Plans Army Career

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

Although he is only 19, Miguel Hernandez Ford has planned out his future.

In it, he has something he has never known: a real family.

Mr. Hernandez Ford’s mother abandoned Honduras for the United States when he was young, leaving him and his younger brother in the care of his grandparents. By the time he was 7, Mr. Hernandez Ford had to work operating furniture-building equipment instead of attending school.

He still bears the physical scars from those days.

As he talks about them, he fingers a spot on his hand where an accident left a wound requiring 25 stitches. “Sometimes they would hit me,” he said of his grandparents, attempting to shrug off the memories.

When Mr. Hernandez Ford turned 15, his mother, whom he had not seen in nearly a decade, sent for him.

Once again Mr. Hernandez Ford was forced to work, this time helping to support his mother and his four half brothers and sisters. After six months, he asked to be allowed to attend school. His mother denied his request and kicked him out of the house, he said.

Fortunately, Catholic Charities, in partnership with South Bronx United and the Medical-Legal Partnership Immigrant Youth Clinic, stepped in.  They found him a home and a caregiver.  Most importantly, they provided him with legal assistance to get a green card so that he can build a life for himself.

“First I want to get my G.E.D.,” Mr. Hernandez said, “then go to the Army.”

Read Miguel Hernandez’ full story in the New York Times

Keeping Faith, Even When Home Is an Uncertain Place

Monday, December 9th, 2013

By John Otis

When asked to tell the story of his life and of the circumstances that left him homeless, Eugene Manu, 21, tripped over his words, his testimony stalled by moments of nervousness and trepidation, filled with false starts and constant backpedaling.

It is no wonder his thoughts could not find purchase. Mr. Manu’s meandering speech seems to reflect the fact that he’s never known any sense of stability or permanence. He is a young man who, despite a strong faith in God, and the guidance offered by certain family members, finds himself better acquainted with doubt and feelings of abandonment.

“I have never considered any place home,” he said.

Three months into Mr. Manu’s life, his mother, unmarried and barely scraping by at a minimum wage job, sent him to Ghana to live with his grandmother. He remained there for seven years before coming to the United States to join his mother in New York, where he would end up shuffled between an array of homeless shelters and foster homes, before he was returned to his grandmother’s care in Ghana at age 15.

Last spring, while living at Create, a Harlem shelter affiliated with Catholic Charities, he acquired his G.E.D. and was accepted at the Borough of Manhattan Community College. But at about the same time, he was hospitalized with pneumonia, caused by complications from the hereditary sickle cell anemia he was born with, and nearly died. “I felt like I was drifting away,” he said. “If it wasn’t for God, I would have lost my life.”

Read Mr. Manu’s story in The New York Times. Learn how Catholic Charities is helping him rebuild his life.