A Transitional Living Program Helps an Iowa Young Man Ride to Success

A bicycle parked against an outside wall.As a homeless young person living on his own, Travis* never knew what day school started. Yet every year, he would register for classes once he found out school was back in session. Once enrolled, Travis made sure to wake up early each morning to walk the mile to class. Then, he would make his way to work, where he would stay until 1 a.m., before beginning the long walk home. The next day, he’d do it all over again.

This fall, Travis’ senior year got off to a rolling start thanks to United Action for Youth, a Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB) grantee in Iowa City, Iowa. After enrolling in the agency’s transitional living program, Travis registered for classes on time and started getting to school more easily using a donated bicycle. After seeing how much Travis used and appreciated the loaner bike—which was designed for someone much smaller—program staff surprised him with his own bicycle, helmet, and basket. With this new set of appropriately sized wheels, Travis continued commuting to school and work much faster than before.

Eventually, Travis saved enough money to buy a car. Now, he has more time after school to do his homework and relax before beginning his shift. He is also preparing to graduate this spring and enroll in Army basic training.

“Travis has done so well and continues to be a guiding force for his peers by bringing a great perspective and offering advice to other participants,” says Transitional Living Program Coordinator Ally Hanten. “[Transitional living programs like ours] are designed for kids like Travis, who just need some place stable to settle so they can soar.”

For now, Travis is “soaring” on two and four wheels—thanks to a FYSB-supported program that took the time to identify and address a pressing need.

*name changed for anonymity

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