Droplets randomly tapped on my body, a splash of water hit my legs and I suddenly felt the cold, hard pavement beneath the newspapers. Sleeping on the street…this was my reality, a bad dream? no it was my life.

The shopkeeper began yelling, “Get outta here, you bum!” It was fall in New York City and a cold front had just passed over the night before. I grabbed the grocery bag that held all my belongings; a ripped sweater, a crumpled water bottle, a flute, an Old Navy hoody, a half eaten sandwich that a kind person gave me the day before, a cup with spare change and a childhood doll I had since I was five. I longed for the days that I had a warm bed and food on the table.

I was sitting at the dinner table talking to my foster parents eating my delicious dinner. We were eating salmon burgers with steamy mashed potatoes, and talking about our day. I mentioned how all of my friends were talking about going to college, I knew I didn’t have the grades to even graduate. My parents then mentioned they needed to discuss something serious. My dad had lost his job and we were going to have to move back to Idaho, away from my friends. The rest of dinner felt like a shock. After dinner, I immediately went up to my room and filled a bag with my belongings and waited for my parents to fall asleep.

My stomach was growling, like a hungry lion. I pulled out my flute from the Acme grocery bag and began to play the harmonious tunes from my childhood that gave me joy. As I waited, the sun popped out to warm the slight chill in the air. Morning rush hour brought commuters as the sound of spare coins clinked in my cup. I was a freshly turned 19, so I got more money than most because I was younger and cleaner cut. After about 4 hours I had collected $12, which was enough to get one decent meal. I wouldn’t go hungry today. The sun disappeared and as I began to pack up, a kind teenager handed me a bowl of hot soup, and her jacket. I thanked her so many times and sat there with a smile thinking our future was in good hands. Tonight I would be warm with a full stomach.

I cannot even begin to imagine what being homeless feels like. No teenager should have to experience a life like the one above, join Threads of Care: “Where teens give hope to teens one thread at a time.” Olivia

Olivia is passionate about helping those less fortunate. She is an avid artist, musical theater performer and cross country runner. In her free time, you’ll often find Olivia singing to her favorite song or drawing a Japanese anime character.