Jesse hasn't had a perfect life. Last year, the ten-year-old boy and his mother fled his abusive father and started living in a Bronx shelter for victims of domestic violence. He missed over two months of school during the transition, and although Jesse eventually enrolled in a new school, he never fully caught up. He also didn't make any new friends, mostly because he was too embarrassed about his homelessness to open up to his classmates.
When Jesse arrived at Camp Homeward Bound this past summer, he was quiet and reserved. The first few days he shied away from our counselors and from the other campers. By the end of the first week, however, Jesse let his guard down. Maybe it was the constant encouragement he received from his bunk counselor. Or the pride he felt making a model volcano. Maybe it was the home cooked hearty meals served in the dining hall, or the perfect scary story shared around the campfire. Whatever the reason, Jesse ultimately thrived at Camp, learning new skills and making new friends.
His mother has noticed a change in Jesse too. His self-confidence has increased markedly. When he returned to school in September, he asked to join the after-school program, so he could be with the friends he had made over the summer. His grades also started to improve. Camp Homeward Bound not only helped Jesse reclaim his childhood, but also started him down a path to lifelong success.more stories of homeless new yorkers