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Curtis, age 19, grew up on the East side of Detroit. He was put in foster care as an infant and adopted around the age of five. In spite of being very young when he was in foster care, the memories are still fresh. He remembers seeing face after face and wondering who his real family was. All of the moving around didn’t make any sense to him, but there was no explanation. He still remembers a home where he was verbally abused and a time, from his childhood perspective, when he felt that his life was being threatened after he got into trouble for a minor incident. One of his few happy memories from that period is of a Christmas program at his school.

Once he was adopted around age five, things got better. He was fed, clothed and taken care of. His adoptive mother was good to him and treated him fairly. However, he always felt like he didn’t quite belong. When the family would be laughing and sharing in a memorable experience, there was always a nagging feeling that he was somehow out of the circle, that they weren’t his real family – in spite of everything.

Fast forward to the present…

Curtis never finished high school and enrolled in SER Metro last year to try and complete a GED. He completed a carpentry construction certification with SER Metro, but failed to pass his GED test, which excluded him from the apprenticeship program. SER Metro was able to help him get a part time job at Comerica, a job he lost after his regular ride failed to show up one day.

Once he lost his job, things got difficult at home. At one point Curtis spent a night on the street. He quickly decided that wasn’t for him and walked to a police station to ask if they knew of any shelters. The officer on duty gave Curtis the number to Covenant House, which is how he found us.

Shortly after his arrival Curtis enrolled in Covenant House Academy. Since his attempt at the GED exam failed, he realized he needed to try a different route to fill in the gap in his education. Now that he is attending the Academy, he has teachers who are able to help him reach that goal. He knows that once he finishes his high school diploma, his carpentry certification will help him find a long-term job.

Another of his dreams for the future includes his love for fashion. Curtis would love to try out as a model, though he likes knowing that he can fall back on his carpentry training if his runway dream doesn’t come true. In addition, he eventually hopes to  use his carpentry skills to build his own house.