My name is Carrian Troxler, I’m a case manager at Door of Hope.

I want to tell you about a teenage boy named Richard who entered Door of Hope with his family. Richard was always a really good student and was well liked by his teachers and classmates. When Richard’s family fell upon tough times, they ended up losing their house, and became homeless. They had no choice but to sleep in their car, and they spent their days looking for shelter, food, and jobs.

This took a huge toll on everyone in the family, and Richard’s grades began to drop. Multiple teachers were alarmed by the sharp decline in Richard’s performance and approached him to find out what was wrong. Richard was too embarrassed to tell them that he and his family were experiencing homelessness. His teachers eventually called Richard’s parents in for a meeting. His parents explained that they had fallen on tough times and it had really affected the kids and consequently their performance at school.

Richard’s teachers showed empathy and compassion for Richard’s situation, and became a strong support base for him. They provided Richard with extra tutoring and special attention wherever he needed it. It was around this time that Richard’s family was accepted into Door of Hope. Having a place to sleep, eat, and study made an immediate difference for Richard. Between the stability provided for him at Door of Hope and the support of his teachers, he was able to bring his grades back up and ended up graduating middle school with honors!

Richard has worked so hard and has overcome many obstacles. His school is five cities away from Door of Hope, so he leaves here every morning at 5am to arrive on time. He has been an inspiration to his family, teachers, and everyone around him. At Richard’s graduation, he was surprised with the “Most Inspirational Student Award.” He was the unanimous choice by all of his 8th grade teachers and was the only student to receive this award.

We are so proud of Richard. Many kids in his position end up failing, and even dropping out of school. But because of his perseverance and the support system provided for him by his teachers and Door of Hope, Richard is entering High School with so much positive momentum!

I asked Richard a few questions about the award he received, and I want to share his responses with you:

Carrian: What was your initial reaction to being called up for a special award?

Richard: I was surprised because all the teachers picked me to be the most inspirational student and they all came up with a speech, it really touched me, but I was nervous because it was in front of a whole crowd of people and all my classmates.

Carrian: What did your teachers say was inspirational about you?

Richard: They said that I was one of the reasons they looked forward to coming to school, which meant a lot to me. They also said my smile lit up the room.

Carrian: What was the most challenging part of this school year?

Richard: The most challenging part of the school year was trying to pay attention and not talking to my friends and working hard to pick up my grades and complete all of my community service to meet graduation criteria, while we were moving around.

Carrian: Who do you find inspirational?

Richard: My teachers because when I was struggling in the beginning of the year due to my situation they never gave up on me and they pushed me to do better.

Carrian: What are your goals for high school?

Richard: My goal in high school is to stay above a 3.0 and to graduate, hopefully with honors.

Thank you for taking the time to read this story, and thank you for supporting kids like Richard through your support of Door of Hope.