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James has been at Covenant House for a couple of months and recently transferred to ROP. “It happened really quickly. I had just been saying how I needed more time as I knew my 90 days at Caritas were almost up. Then one day someone came and told me there was an open bed at ROP and that I could live there for up to two years. I was really happy.”

James was born down south and lived in both Georgia and North Carolina for a time. He came to Michigan after completing high school, but not before life had already given him a few hard knocks.

When James was still in school, his dad died and James’ whole family experienced a period of homelessness. He recalls being in a shelter with, “a bunch of old men.” It wasn’t a pleasant experience and when James came to CHM he was very relieved to find a different structure. “It is all 18-22 year olds here, people my age, and girls too. It is much nicer than living with a bunch of old men.”

One of the things James enjoys at Covenant House is cleaning. “I really like to clean. I was bullied during my time in school and I still have some anger problems from that. I realized that doing chores is a good way for me to work out my tension and feel better about things.” He laughs, “One week I was told I didn’t have to do any chores because I did too much cleaning. I didn’t mind the chores, but I guess the other residents need to have some chores to do too. Now people around here call me Mr. Clean.”

His love of cleaning made him a great addition to the Intern Program at CHM. “I’m looking for a janitorial job off-site right now, or a job as a dishwasher. I really like cleaning and I’m good at it.”

James is currently working on saving up his intern paycheck for some paperwork he needs to take care of. With all the moving around, James doesn’t have his birth certificate, which he needs to get a Michigan State ID. “Eventually I’d like to enroll in Henry Ford Community College. I want to study psychology so I can help others in my situation. So many people here have been through what I’m going through, or they’ve experienced abuse and other bad things.  I want to understand how people cope, what their emotional needs are, and things like depression and anger management.”

In his spare time James also enjoys writing poetry and was a contestant in the Covenant Idol 2014. He hopes to eventually publish a book of poetry, write some fictional pieces, and do more song writing which is another hobby of his.

*Update: James was able to get a job as a dishwasher at the one of the downtown restaurants. He has been employed for over a month now and is enjoying his work.