Connections Matter to Homeless Youth

Graduation Caps in the AirAnthony Ross was 13 years old when he lost his grandmother to heart disease. He didn’t know his father, and his mother’s substance abuse dependency would make staying with her impossible. Anthony wound up on the streets of Washington, DC.

Eventually, Anthony found his way to the welcoming doors of Sasha Bruce House, the emergency youth shelter operated by Sasha Bruce Youthwork (SBY).  SBY is funded by the Family and Youth Services Bureau under the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act.

“My first time even enrolling into the program at the shelter it was like, ‘Oh my goodness, I didn’t know none of these people,’ and I felt really awkward and uncomfortable sleeping in the bed next to complete strangers,” Anthony said. 

But relationships he developed with the staff at Sasha Bruce House, such as youth worker George Montgomery, helped keep him on track.

“Mr. George was always there if we needed to talk to him,” Anthony said. “He was always able to listen and give us advice.”

When Anthony decided that he wanted to go to college, George helped him think through his choices and even took him on college tours.

This spring, after serving as student body president, Anthony graduated Summa Cum Laude from St. Augustine University in Raleigh, NC. George attended Anthony’s graduation.

“The great thing that Sasha Bruce imposes on people is that once you are in a program, they build a relationship with the homeless teenager and remain in their lives,” Anthony said. “Because at the end of the day, they know that we didn’t go through anything positive in our lives, and we need the support.”