NORTH CHARLESTON (WCIV) — It didn’t take long for 18-year-old Damien Hayden and Project H.O.M.E. Board Member Kathi Love to bond.
Love says, “My heart is so overwhelmed. He is amazing.” Hayden recently graduated from Stall High School in North Charleston.
He explains, “Senior year was the year I did what all the people had been doing the previous three years.” Hayden says graduation day was a day he will never forget. “It was adrenaline just mixed with pure joy.”
His success, he says, is all thanks to a home in North Charleston. Hayden calls it a place overflowing with blessings.
Project H.O.M.E. gives homeless kids a new chance to take on the world. He adds, “I probably would have been with my brothers, homeless, living in a trailer — an abandoned one.”
The Stall High School alum says his family got evicted from their home last fall. He bravely confided the news in his teachers. In a matter of days, 17-year-old Hayden was living at Project H.O.M.E. Love explains, “It is really important today that we give every child the necessary stuff to make it in this world, because it is hard enough.”
Love says Hayden’s story is like many other teens in Charleston County. There are many students who have no place to go. It is why she hopes the Lowcountry will change its thinking.
“They put this thing in their minds of what homeless looks like and it could be me and you, one paycheck away. I tell people do not judge, because this could be you.
”To continue their mission, Project H.O.M.E. needs new house parents.
They’d start in early August. “People know if they could do it. They know if they have the heart for this job and if they want to give to others. That is what we are looking for, that person who wants to give back,” explains Love. For Hayden, his house parents became family.“
People talk about guardian angels. It’s like that feeling after you have been helped by a miracle,” he reflects. “A memory that I will hold dear for the rest of my life. “There is no cost associated with becoming house parents. The home will house three high school boys. Organizers ask you to reach out if you may be interested. Donations and supplies for the home are also needed to continue their mission.
A girls homeless house in North Charleston is in the works. Organizers hope it can become a reality in the next few years.
About Project Home Foundation
Project Home Foundation exists to provide structured and nurturing home environments for displaced male students ages 17 to 21 and facilitate their success in learning and life. Mickey’s House – the first result of this initiative, exists to provide a safe home for male students.