Help homeless students through holidays | News

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Help homeless students through holidays

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- When you're a teenager and living in a homeless shelter, a lot goes through your mind.

"You don't want to tell your friends," said Sabon

But many of the teenagers we met who were living at the Sulzbacher Center homeless shelter made it clear than homelessness was not living in them.

These homeless students need help, like warm clothes and school supplies. That's where the First Coast News/I'm A Star HELPing Homeless Students initiative comes in.

Sabon, 17, is a a student at Englewood High.

"I'm doing fine, I have a 3.0 GPA," he said.

Tabitha, 15, is enrolled in Florida Virtual school. Her neighborhood school did not have what she needed to meet her academic goals.

"It wasn't a good fit," said Tabitha. She is now doing well in her academics. 

Sabon is now part of the Cross Country track team; he's volunteering, and said his efforts are paying off.

In October he made a trip to the nation's capital, part of a group of students; he's going again in February to be among the future medical leaders.

"They'll have scientists and some of the great medical minds," he said, "I am excited."

Sabon wants to be a health care career; a nurse, maybe even a doctor.

His Christmas wish list is short: first a home for his mom and his brother.

"My mom is still looking for a job, but she will be employed soon," he said, "We're going to get our own place, so we won't be here for long."

The second item on his Christmas list is finding the funds to pay for his college education.

"I can't think of anything more important than that," he said.

Tabitha wants to be a dancer but she does not have the funds to join a dance studio.

"I'm dancing in my living room, but not in an actual studio," she said.

In the meantime, her talents have landed her a role in a music video, and that has opened the door to role in a low budget horror movie. Yes, horror.

"I love it," said Tabitha, "Horror is like my passion it doesn't look like it but it is."

Wendi, her mom, said they're better off than they were six months ago. Dad is working, they have a vehicle and they're still very optimistic about their future

"My kids are happy, we have our bad days, but things are going pretty good," said Wendi. 

Mom is getting a part time job, and the children are working on their Christmas wish list.

"I've put together a pretty unrealistic list," said Tabitha, "It includes a puppy and a laptop."

Both of these teenagers know that they're not where they would like to be, but they're keeping the faith.

Visit these links to learn how you can help student like Sabon and Tabitha over the holidays:


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