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Boot camp is intimidating to most people. Not to 19-year-old Abdou.
Sleeping in the same place every night? Eating three meals a day? When you’ve been homeless, boot camp looks like a good deal. Besides, he has a plan.
Abdou’s parents are immigrants living in an East Coast city. They sent him, as a responsible teen, to help his uncle in Central Texas. “My parents are religious and taught me how to live,” Abdou says. “If you raise a child the right way, he will live the right way.” But his uncle only allowed Abdou out of the house for school and controlled everything in the home. He prohibited him from driving and getting a part-time job. The night Abdou announced he was leaving, his uncle said, “If you leave, don’t come back.”
With $15 in his pocket, the boy was truly homeless, and had two months left in his senior year. A school counselor referred Abdou to PCHAS’ Transitional Living Program. She explained that it is not an emergency shelter, but a long-term residential program that provides stability for youth to achieve their goals, including self-sufficiency. Abdou lived at PCHAS for his last month of school and, being focused and goal-oriented, he graduated on schedule. Soon he found work and bought a car.
A year passed. PCHAS staff provided life-skills training and psychological support. At Christmas, Abdou asked for books on financial literacy. “I want more for my life,” Abdou says. “I’m happy at my PCHAS apartment, but I’m planning ahead.”
Abdou enlisted in the Army and headed to boot camp in June. He will be stationed stateside as a warehouse clerk. Military life offers job training, a steady paycheck and veterans’ benefits for college tuition. Eventually, he’ll be able to get a VA loan for his own home. Ever practical, Abdou points out, “This plan gives me a good foundation. Accidents happen or I might be sick, but already my credit score is good. When I’m 35, I will have done a lot of things.”
Transitional Living Programs in Texas and Missouri are for young adults, 18 to 25 years old, gaining independence and making sustainable plans for the future. For more information, call 800-888-1904 or contact us online.