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Fighting for Tomorrow

Organized by: Kenneth Crayton

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THE STORY:

Note from Author:

This is perhaps the hardest thing I've ever written, as it details many recent events of my current struggle. If you choose to read this, please know that throughout the 4 hours it's taken for me to finish this "About your Fundraiser" section, telling myself that someone may actually read what I have to say has encouraged my efforts in publishing this page.

I'm writing this hoping that someone actually reads this. I'm writing this praying that compassion is more than a pretty word. Here goes...

For almost a year, I've been living couch to couch all over Chicago. As a young 20-something putting himself through grad school while working (for minimum wage) left my apartment to move into my parent's house thinking that this make grad school a possibility.

Soon after moving into my parent's house, and enrolling in classes, I also came to terms with embracing my sexual orientation as a gay man after meeting Dan Savage at a school event. Deciding to come "out" to my family later that night lead to them disowning me, punishing me with shame from my Southern-Baptist religious church-going family, and receiving an eviction notice from the hands of my own mother.

I was punished for being openly gay by being kicked out, while my younger brother, a convicted felon, who sells drugs out of my parent's home where he still lives gives my parents more pride.

I left town and ended up leaving my part-time job at IKEA where my parent's reside. I almost ended up dropping out of school, but through the grace of God, managed to find hope in finishing after learning that I had a couple of amazing friends that gave me shelter while focusing on school.

I am proud to say that next month I am to be awarded my Masters degree! I also managed to remain proactive in job searching during this already impossible job market...In fact, I accepted an out-of-state job offer on Monday (03-31-14) as an "Employer Engagement Specialist" where I am to coordinate employment partnership initiatives to help people on SNAP (foodstamps) find jobs to better themselves. Little did my employer know that the person they offered the job has actually been on food stamps himself for the past 3 months. He's also the same person that had a friend drive him to the out-of-state interview, borrow a suit, and remain faithful in getting this job despite 10 minutes before the interview getting dressed in a foul-rundown public washroom.

They also don't know that this person is the same person that found this job via a cold application process and many networking phone calls, that lived with a complete stranger that took interest off of a dating app and has actually become one of my most endearing friends after learning that his "hot" date was someone who was currently homeless. I lived with this person for about a week, while looking for both a job and a home.

Since, I ended up in a domestically violent living arrangement with a man much older that exploited my vulnerability. I found a full-time job downtown Chicago while living with this man who said he "just wanted to help me save money for my own place with my new job." Well, this turned out to be a domestically violent situation after discovering his intentions to pimp me out.

As a way to escape, I checked myself into the hospital out of fear revisiting suicidal idealizations. It was there that I realized I needed to get away from this person, but felt it was the best thing I had at the time being. A few weeks later at the verge of hanging myself from the balcony within his large-scale condo, I heard a voice inside that told me to pick up my cell phone. With a sheet in one hand and my phone in the other, I called someone that I had always looked up to; my college professor/advisor who I had once served as a T.A. for years ago...she hold a PhD in clinical psychology. That phone call has since been my saving grace. I currently live with her outside of Chicago, where I've been focusing on rebuilding myself. It has taken many, many, many endless hours, long days and nights, tears, and ambition that has lead me now finding a secure job, graduating with a Masters, and spilling my guts out to those reading this that may be able to help me raise money that I could use to find an apartment so I can accept this job offer.

I've learned that I am a fighter and my persistence and faith alone have allowed me to do impossible things under the most impossible situations. I'd be more than grateful for any help in passing this along, any comfortable donations, and prayers. I've pulled myself up a mighty long way, and could use help pushing through the weeks ahead.

Thank you doesn't quite capture my expressions of gratitude, but it's the first thing that comes to mind that I know to say.

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Organized by

Kenneth Crayton

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