The House has been changing children's lives since 1872.

Meet Deshawn

Boy smiling.My mom used to be good to me. Before she met her boyfriend, she and I spent all our time together reading and playing games. Ever since he came around though, she has been distant from me. They had three children together. Once they are all taken care of there just seemed to be no time left for me.

It was the end of April when my mom and her boyfriend dropped me off at The House. I didn't know where I was or why I was here. I found out later that my mom had made up some stories about me being violent and running away. I didn't understand why she would say things like that. I didn't like being home and sometimes got upset but never hurt anyone.

I thought the people at The House would not believe anything I said, but to my surprise, they were there for me. They listened and cared about my perspective. I told them about my mom and how she seemed to love me until this guy came into her life. I don't get to see my family much anymore.

Because I was living in one of The House's residential facilities and my family didn't want me to come home, I was planning on spending Thanksgiving alone. But then I had the opportunity to spend Thanksgiving with a local family, and for the first time, I got to be around a real family and feel accepted.

When I came back, I decided I wanted to try to reunite with my own family, so I worked at school and in my residence to save money for holiday presents. I got my mom and brothers and sister presents and went to spend the holidays with my grandparents. I was so excited to see them and spend a real holiday with my family! I gave them their presents, but while they opened them and exchanged presents among themselves, I realized they hadn't thought to get me anything.

On New Year's Eve, I got in a big fight with my uncle, and after a few blows were thrown I ran away. No one could find me, and I didn't come back until my ride to The House showed up.

I was so happy to come back to The House! I love school, and The House has gotten me involved in a lot of athletics. Even though things in my family are still tough, I know that something good will come from all this and that I can rise above my past! Now I'm looking into respite families that I might be able to spend weekends with once in awhile, but it is hard for me to trust anyone. The House understands me and doesn't push me too much. I'm so thankful for the family I've gotten while staying at The House, and I know I would not be where I am without them!