Almost Home: Helping Kids Move from Homelessness to Hope

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Overview

Inside the lives of homeless teens—moving stories of pain and hope from Covenant House

Almost Home tells the stories of six remarkable young people from across the United States and Canada as they confront life alone on the streets. Each eventually finds his or her way to Covenant House, the largest charity serving homeless and runaway youth in North America. From the son of a crack addict who fights his own descent into drug addiction to a teen mother reaching for a new life, ...

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Almost Home: Helping Kids Move from Homelessness to Hope

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Overview

Inside the lives of homeless teens—moving stories of pain and hope from Covenant House

Almost Home tells the stories of six remarkable young people from across the United States and Canada as they confront life alone on the streets. Each eventually finds his or her way to Covenant House, the largest charity serving homeless and runaway youth in North America. From the son of a crack addict who fights his own descent into drug addiction to a teen mother reaching for a new life, their stories veer between devastating and inspiring as they each struggle to find a place called home.

  • Includes a foreword by Newark Mayor Cory Booker
  • Shares the personal stories of six homeless youths grappling with issues such as drug addiction, family violence, prostitution, rejection based on sexual orientation, teen parenthood, and aging out of foster care into a future with limited skills and no support system
  • Gives voice to the estimated 1.6 million young people in the United States and Canada who run away or are kicked out of their homes each year
  • Includes striking photographs, stories of firsthand experiences mentoring and working with homeless and troubled youth, and practical suggestions on how to get involved
  • Discusses the root causes of homelessness among young people, and policy recommendations to address them
  • Provides action steps readers can take to fight youth homelessness and assist individual homeless young people
  • Written by Kevin Ryan, president of Covenant House, and Pulitzer Prize nominee and former New York Times writer Tina Kelley

Inviting us to get to know homeless teens as more than an accumulation of statistics and societal issues, this book gives a human face to a huge but largely invisible problem and offers practical insights into how to prevent homelessness and help homeless youth move to a hopeful future. For instance, one kid in the book goes on to become a college football player and counselor to at-risk adolescents and another becomes a state kickboxing champion. All the stories inspire us with victories of the human spirit, large and small. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of each book will help support kids who benefit from Covenant House's shelter and outreach services.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
With narrative precision and journalistic detail, the heartbreaking trajectory from abandonment and abuse to teen homelessness is laid bare in this book by Covenant House president Ryan and staff member Kelley, a former New York Times reporter. Telling the story of six young people who came to a Covenant House, the nationwide network of faith-based homes for homeless and runaway youth, Ryan and Kelley uncover their dire circumstances as well as efforts by Covenant House staff, and the kids themselves, to get off the streets. In addition, the authors highlight such issues as human trafficking, the shortcomings of the foster care system, and the financial cost of not caring for homeless youth, as well as providing suggestions and resources for mentoring, helping teen parents, and supporting LGBTQ youth. The compassionately told stories of survival are almost miraculous: a young man who had been abandoned and abused by his adoptive parents proudly returns to Covenant House to cook and serve a gourmet meal; another, bearing physical scars, walks the halls as an at-risk coordinator for a high school; and in the epilogue, we learn that a young woman who had survived drug addiction and prostitution has been accepted to college to study juvenile justice. Agent: Andrew Blauner, Blauner Books Literary Agency. (Oct.)
From the Publisher
* With narrative precision and journalistic detail, the heartbreaking trajectory from abandonment and abuse to teen homelessness is laid bare in this book by Covenant House president Ryan and staff member Kelley, a former New York Times reporter. Telling the story of six young people who came to a Covenant House, the nationwide network of faith-based homes for homeless and runaway youth, Ryan and Kelley uncover their dire circumstances as well as efforts by Covenant House staff, and the kids themselves, to get off the streets. In addition, the authors highlight such issues as human trafficking, the shortcomings of the foster care system, and the financial cost of not caring for homeless youth, as well as providing suggestions and resources for mentoring, helping teen parents, and supporting LGBTQ youth. The compassionately told stories of survival are almost miraculous: a young man who had been abandoned and abused by his adoptive parents proudly returns to Covenant House to cook and serve a gourmet meal; another, bearing physical scars, walks the halls as an at-risk coordinator for a high school; and in the epilogue, we learn that a young woman who had survived drug addiction and prostitution has been accepted to college to study juvenile justice. (Publishers Weekly, October 2012)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781118230473
  • Publisher: Turner Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 9/11/2012
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 326,042
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Kevin Ryan

KEVIN RYAN is President of Covenant House International, which reaches 56,000 at-risk and street youth in more than twenty cities across six countries. Ryan is one of the country's most respected child advocates and his work has been covered by the New York Times and the Washington Post. He has appeared on Today, Good Morning America, 60 Minutes, Anderson Cooper 360, and other national media.

TINA KELLEY was a staff writer for the New York Times for ten years and shared in a Pulitzer Prize for the paper's coverage of the September 11 attacks. She wrote 121 "Portraits of Grief" profiles of the victims and is the author of two books of poetry, The Gospel of Galore and Precise.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Foreword by Cory Booker xi

Preface: Years to Understand the Light by Kevin Ryan xvii

Preface: Help and the Homing Instinct by Tina Kelley xxiii

Introduction 1

1 A Son Walks Alone: Paulie’s Story 12

Arriving at Covenant House 21

The Costs of Not Caring 39

Homeless, but Graduating 42

2 A Survivor Facing Her Future: Muriel’s Story 46

Arriving at Covenant House 56

Helping Trafficking Victims, Holding Exploiters Accountable 62

Fighting Back on Many Fronts 67

3 Moving Forward after Foster Care: Benjamin’s Story 72

Memories of Mistreatment 77

Working toward Mental Health 83

Arriving at Covenant House 88

Fixing Foster Care 107

4 A Homeless Teen Mother Reaching for a New Life: Creionna’s Story 115

Homelessness in New Orleans 120

Arriving at Covenant House 126

Help for Young Parents 138

5 A Teenager with Nowhere to Go and His Mentor: Keith’s and Jim’s Stories 153

Arriving at Covenant House 167

Keith's Thoughts on the Meaning of a Mentor 171

Dr. Kenneth Ginsburg on Fostering Resilience through Mentoring 176

The Power of a Presence 178

6 Searching for Safety: Meagan’s Story 182

Arriving at Covenant House 191

Meagan on Her Moms and Her Future 197

Helping LGBTQ Youth 199

7 Separate Paths Uniting: Paulie Revisited 201

The Death of Decal 206

8 What You Can Do: Steps to Help Homeless Young People Thrive 210

Mentoring 210

Anti-Traffi cking Efforts 211

Supporting LGBTQ Youth 212

Advocacy Work 213

In the Community 214

What You Can Do from Your Computer 216

On the Home Front 216

Keep Us Posted 217

To Learn More 217

Epilogue 219

Notes 221

Index 224

Photo gallery begins on page 143

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