Thanks to generous donor support, Carlisha has overcome homelessness and is a responsible citizen in our community. She recently moved out of Daybreak’s housing program and assumed the lease on her apartment. She works at Premier Health and takes classes toward a double major at Sinclair Community College.

Finally, on top of supporting herself and going to school, Carlisha’s involved in raising her three younger siblings and has them stay with her on weekends.We think you’ll agree: Carlisha’s a remarkable young woman.

But all that didn’t come easy for this bubbly, friendly almost-20-year-old. She generously shared her story with nearly 500 strangers at our Champions for Youth fundraising events on November 5, 2014. There weren’t many dry eyes in the room by the time she was finished.

Carlisha was raised in an abusive home. She didn’t find the courage to report the abuse until she was 16. Placed with a caring foster family, she learned the importance of setting goals and getting good grades. For the first time ever, Carlisha started feeling positive about her future.

Before too long her life was turned upside down when she was snatched from her foster home by an uncle she’d never known. He saw dollar signs and won custody of Carlisha.

Not surprisingly, the uncle kicked Carlisha to the streets when she turned 18 and the support checks stopped coming. Another uncle, Carlisha’s age and a resident in our shelter, told her about Daybreak.

“At first, I wasn’t sure I wanted to go there,” Carlisha told the crowd. I thought Daybreak had a lot of trouble makers and delinquent kids with no goals for their lives.”

Realizing she didn’t have any other options, Carlisha finally did come into our shelter and eventually, happily, moved into our housing program.

“When I arrived at Daybreak, I felt really comfortable because the staff was so nice and welcoming to me,” remembered Carlisha. “They always reminded me that they were there to help me. I felt like I finally had support. And the other kids weren’t so bad either.”

In closing, Carlisha expressed gratitude to everyone at Daybreak who helped her, including Daybreak’s supporters:

“I want to say thank you to all the staff who helped me get this far. And thank you also to everyone who has the heart to help out youth like me. Our youth are an important part of the community and are worth investing in. Daybreak is a second chance for them and a living hope for their future! I’m living proof. Without Daybreak, I wouldn’t have had the motivation to pursue my goals. I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

Generous donors helped make Carlisha’s dreams reality. She’d be the first to tell you, your gifts do make a difference. Your gifts do change lives.

Congratulations to Carlisha on all she’s achieved so far. We’re proud of her and hope you are too.

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