At the age of 9 Andrew was in a gang and addicted to methamphetamine. He felt trapped in a cycle of abuse and abandonment and didn’t see any better vision for his future aside from what was happening around him.
By age 14, Andrew was homeless. Living on the streets was a rough experience and included anything he could think of to survive. He remembers stealing food, spending restless nights “sleeping” on chairs inside laundromats, and stealing cars when he ran out of options. This would have ended tragically for Andrew, as it does for thousands of children, if it wasn’t for an unlikely recommendation.
While serving time in prison Andrew was introduced to Olive Crest. Olive Crest taught Andrew discipline and trust. For the first several months he resisted any guidance or leadership. But over time he grew to believe that this was his “last chance” and it wasn’t to be wasted. He became equipped to harness his natural leadership ability, to grow in maturity, and eventually to hope for more. Now almost done with college, Andrew has been working as a manager for two years.
He is approaching his final semester having achieved all A’s and B’s in his coursework up to this point. When asked what he wants to do someday, he laughs and says, “Sitting at an office all day is not for me, I want to chase something bigger, get paid for the work I put in. I know I have charisma and am a natural leader, and so I want to chase deals, and make it on my own.” Then after a moment of quiet reflection he adds earnestly “…and help people, people like me who have no hope.”
“I could talk to you all day about what Olive Crest has done for me. They’ve taught me to mature and become a man, and to care about being a leader. I thought I would be on my own when I “aged out” of the system, but they gave me the opportunity to get a place of my own, pay rent, and grow a savings account. I’ve been running my whole life; now I feel like I can finally stop running.” – Andrew