November 19, 2018
Second Story received a $10,000 grant in 2018 from the Poverty Relief Fund through the Community Investment Funds grant cycle. This grant provided housing and shelter assistance to homeless youth in our region. Second Story shared the following testimonial to show how this grant helped one of their clients, Brayan.

Brayan 2 LRBrayan, a client of Second Story

Brayan had always been fascinated with invention. As a child in Guatemala he would make his own toys with things around his house. When he got older he learned about Nikola Tesla and became intent on creating his own Tesla coil, so he took apart his brother’s computer to come up with the right materials. “I couldn’t get all the materials I needed so I couldn’t do it, but I wanted to — even if I had to destroy the computer,” he laughs. Tinkering with how things work was Brayan’s refuge, but life at home was difficult. He grew used to threats and feeling unsafe, but when he was 16 things got worse. He contacted the police and even got his case to court but nothing happened. “I suffered from depression almost every day,” he remembers. “I didn’t want to do anything but sleep and be at home. I decided to come here.”

Brayan eventually moved in with some family members in the States. But though he was safer in Virginia his depression persisted. Strife within his family forced him to move in with strangers, sharing an unsafe space with people he didn’t know or trust. He got a job at a restaurant to support himself, but it required him to work 12 hour shifts. Brayan went to high school in the morning and then went straight to work where he would stay until after 3 am. During that year he was harassed and robbed. He struggled everyday.

He knew the best way to change his circumstances was to try his best in school and get a good education. He worked to get good grades and eventually his teachers started to notice him. “That’s how I started to get support…they saw I had issues with a place to live and that’s when they told me about Second Story.” Brayan got connected with Second Story and moved into the basement of a host family’s home. “It allowed me to have my privacy,” Brayan shares. “It helped a lot with school. It felt like right in the moment where I got my own place a new chapter started in my life.”

Second Story for Homeless Youth was able to provide Brayan not only with housing, but also a case manager and access to opportunities like getting his drivers’ license, food and clothes, and the freedom to focus on what mattered most to him -- his education. With this freedom, Brayan was even able to create his own Tesla coil, fulfilling a dream he’d had ever since he was a child!

Due to his hard work and help from organizations like Second Story, Brayan is now attending Shenandoah University on almost a full-ride scholarship. He’s studying entrepreneurship and hopes to get his master’s in mechanical engineering so he can start a technology company. He wants to change the world with clean energy. But he wasn’t able to do it alone. “Everything that I was able to do was because of the support of a lot of people in my community,” says Brayan.