We are not using Trent’s real name or other identifying details for his privacy.
Trent has a wide smile and a penchant for music. When you talk to him, it’s clear that he’s passionate, articulate, and driven. It’s hard to believe he has three felonies on his record. But, like many of the residents at Covenant House Michigan, his story is one of
He spent most of his life in Oklahoma with family in Michigan. His mom never graduated high school and wasn’t around much but his father was someone he looked up to.
Life started to become harder when his father was diagnosed with cancer when Trent was 13. He died when Trent was 16 and that’s when Trent started spiraling downhill, hanging out with a bad group in high school, a group that mixed drugs, gangs, and violence.
Trent’s poor choices caught up to him when he came back to Michigan from Oklahoma after high school. He knew he had to leave the crowd he was hanging out with and made the multi-state drive to Michigan in a vehicle a friend let him borrow. When he got back to Michigan, he was loitering at a gas station waiting for money to be transferred, and someone called the cops on him. Unfortunately, his fight or flight instincts kicked in and he fled. After a short while, he ended up in police custody with three charges against him.
He was just 18.
After his journey through the legal system, given his age, he was granted leniency. The judge didn’t want to see his life ruined and after the successful completion of probation, two of Trent’s felonies will roll off his record. The third will be removed after five years without another incident. But because he has a connection to another state and had already fled the police once, he must wear an electronic tether.
Once on probation, Trent had a brief stint at his grandmother’s house with relatives, including his brothers. Within a few days, a fight broke out between him and one of his brothers and he was stabbed in the side of his head, deflating his eardrum. Had the injury been up an inch farther, he would be dead, down an inch he would have lost the use of his jaw.
Between this and the support from the judge that Trent’s life should not be ruined, he knew he needed to make a change.
“I almost died at the hands of my own brother. Death does not discriminate, I needed to change my life or else I would die,” said Trent.
His other brother knew it was time to separate the family and looked up places for Trent to go. After two nights in the NSO shelter in Detroit, Trent ended up at Covenant House Michigan.
“I didn’t think people would be so nice to me. I’m used to people not having time for me,” Trent said of Covenant House Michigan.
During this time of fundamental change for Trent, having to basically rewrite his behavior, he has turned to music and channeling all of this adjustment into song writing.
“I want to let kids like me know you’re not alone. If I could ever get out a song that would help one other person, someone who is going through the same things I’ve gone through, it would all be worth it,” Trent said.
Trent wants to continue pursuing making music on the side as therapy. But he knows he needs to buckle down and further his education to get a well-paying job, to be a success.
“I want more from life than what I was given and taught. I didn’t have anyone in my life to show me what to do [especially after my dad died]”
His goal right now is to pursue a radiology technician position and to get through his probation period without any trouble.
“I have to prove to myself and my dad that despite the hardship, I can make it,” Trent said.