In the state of Ohio, you have until your 23rd birthday to earn your high school diploma, which requires 20 credits. Although it took James a few years, he graduated in May 2019, at the age of 22, after earning an astonishing 15.5 credits in one year! Not only did he excel in his schoolwork, he joined the bowling team and bowled over 200 every game. Other team members, coaches, and spectators alike were amazed by James’s talent and infectious smile. James was a great asset to the team and showed true leadership to his coach and other students on his team.
James was born a typical child without issue, however, at a young age sustained an injury that affected his hearing. James lost part of his hearing and therefore was required to wear a hearing aide. Some days, James would not have a working battery for his aide, and therefore would have to read lips or struggle to hear the people and teachers around him. While this frailty does not define James, it truly speaks to his spirit and his desire to succeed despite any setbacks that life throws him. James realized it was his choice to put in the effort, work, and time in order to graduate. He is a perfect example of what happens when you expect more!
Waverly has been a long-time Kaleidoscope Youth Center (KYC) client and joined their Housing Program this May as the first youth housed in KYC’s Rapid Re-Housing program. Waverly has overcome a significant trauma history, many experiences with homelessness and housing insecurity, as well as oppression and discrimination related to her gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, race and ethnicity, and socioeconomic class.
Waverly has overcome a great deal of adversity, and acts as a mentor to other LGBTQIA+ youth; and has been an excellent KYC program participant. Waverly currently works at Northstar Café and often volunteers her time back to KYC. She speaks with other LGBTQ+ youth as well as program funders about her experiences in the housing program. Waverly is an important advocate for transgender, racial, and housing justice.
Want to hear James and Waverly share their stories and help them celebrate their successes? Purchase tickets to the Huck House Youth Awards Dinner on Tuesday, October 29 at 5:30pm at the Boat House at Confluence Park.