Helping Khristopher and Khris'shon Overcome Poverty
Organized by: Michelle Mouton
My name is Michelle and I have created this fundraiser to assist two young African American brothers in their early 20s move back into the home they shared with their single mother (recently deceased) and secure reliable transportation, thus helping them finish school and raise themselves out of severe poverty.
During my two-year service in Americorps, I participated in an MLK Day of Service in 2008 (See photo) where I met the George family (a single disabled mother of six) whose home was getting a few improvements. From that day on, I have been a steady part of the family's life, helping the mother get SSI benefits, helping keep food on the table and utilities paid, as well as mentoring the younger kids. Despite needing so much assistance, this family fell through virtually every crack in the social service and charity systems and have continued to live in very difficult circumstances.
In May of 2015, their mother (second from the left, standing, in the photo of the Americorps team) died from complications due to an epileptic seizure. This was a major blow for the kids. While four of them have a stable living situation now, the oldest and youngest boys are really struggling, left homeless and in need of extra help just to survive. I have remained part of their lives, helping them get basic necessities, seeing that they get real career training, and teaching them the life skills they need to secure a stable future where they can provide for themselves and their families.
These young men have beaten the odds so far given the challenges before them and statistics associated with young African American men their age. The success of this campaign will keep them on the path to success and self-sufficiency.
ABOUT MY CAUSE:
Khristopher (the oldest son) is a 23-year-old father of two preschool girls (See photo) who are the center of his life. Every decision he makes puts their well-being first. Their mother and he are no longer together but share in the care of their children. Both work at fast food restaurants, the only jobs they can find at the moment. Their incomes are not enough and Khris puts most of each paycheck toward keeping a roof over the head of his children and providing for their basic needs (with no court-ordered child support). This is a young black father striving to be the father he never had (and never knew).
He is currently in a welding program at the community college and known by his instructors as a good welder. After two years of training, he will be able to earn a good living for himself and his daughters. Until then, he struggles to earn enough money to survive, find a place to stay each night, and manage with no daycare assistance (which the mother of his children refuses to get). He was nearly failed out of school last semester because he missed so many classes due to lack of childcare and lack of reliable transportation. The mother of the children works from 9am to 5pm. Khris must attend school from 2pm to 8pm and he works from 10pm to 6am. He also picks his oldest daughter up from preschool at 2:30pm. Thus, there are a lot of scheduling conflicts that are keeping him from improving his life for the sake of his kids. I am currently working with Khris to find a way around the daycare challenges.
Effectively homeless, he has been living on the generosity of a few friends and cousins willing to temporarily take him in when they can. Due to relationship issues with the mother of his children, Khris is unable to live with them. Up until December 2015, he mostly stayed with another close friend of his mother's but she was a Hurricane Katrina evacuee who finally moved back to New Orleans. She sold Khris her car for $800 and he now has reliable transportation, but he can't drive it yet for lack of auto insurance he cannot afford to pay at the moment. He has a car loan of $1,000 that he struggles to make payments on ($800 for the car and $200 for tax/title/license), and while the car is reliable, a tune-up is long past due.
With regard to the house he and his siblings lived in with their mother, and he could move back into (See photo), it is very dilapidated but a roof to sleep under and a permanent address. His grandmother (who owns the house) says he and his brother can live there rent-free but must cover all repairs and other expenses themselves. In order to make it habitable again, several critical repairs are needed. Since his mom died, the bathroom floor has collapsed, and the back bedroom has a great deal of mold down one wall due to a roof leak that needs patching before the wall can be replaced. This house is not far from where Khris's children live and is within walking distance of his oldest daughter's preschool. Moving here will thus be a huge help logistically.
Khris'shon is 20-years-old and the youngest boy (See photo; and he's second from the right, standing, in the Americorps team photo). He is single, has no children, and struggles to earn enough money to survive. His father only provides minimal assistance occasionally. Nevertheless, he has been working to complete his GED and is now scheduled to take the final exams soon. He too wants to go into welding and is on the program's waiting list at the community college. He has spent a lot of time staying at a girlfriend's house on the other side of town from where he works (at a neighborhood car wash blocks from the house he lived in with his mother and siblings). After learning he had also been driving her car with no license or insurance, I recently loaned him $250 to at least get his driver's license. He completed the classroom portion of the driver's ed course just after Xmas and is on a waiting list for the supervised driving portion of it.
Moving in with his brother will make both of their lives more manageable and convenient. They can share the expenses, and help one another better cope with losing their mom as well.
Breaking down the $5000 I am hoping to raise for them:
$1500 will pay off Khris's car loan and cover the tune-up (with any repairs) the car needs;
$700 will pay for repairs to make the house they shared with their mom habitable again;
$400 will pay utility deposits and fees so the boys can move into the house after repairs;
$2400 will start each of the two boys off with 6 months of car insurance.
Any extra money raised will go into an emergency fund to help the boys pay for future car and housing expenses.