Angelyss is 18 years old. While in high school she worked hard to get straight A’s and her academic advisors supported her as she applied to some of the best universities in the country - landing an academic scholarship at a private university in New Orleans where she is today. So what’s her connection to Covenant House? She lived there 16 years ago, with her mom, Carolina.
Carolina grew up in poverty. Her mother’s untreated schizophrenia sometimes forced them to live in homeless shelters and her father was unable to help because he struggled with drug addiction. Carolina was 16 when Angelyss was born and they lived in a city-run shelter at the time. Angelyss’ father was unsupportive, her grandfather was in jail, and her grandmother’s mental health was deteriorating. Carolina quickly ran out of friends who were willing to let her and a newborn stay on their couch. Several times, their only option was a towel that they laid down on the floor for the two of them to sleep on together. Scared, tired, and tired of feeling scared and tired, Carolina was determined to prevent Angelyss from growing up in the environment that she did.
A friend told Carolina about Covenant House and she was accepted into the Mother & Child Program. Carolina told Angelyss it was a hotel and reassured her that everything was going to be ok. She quickly got a job as a security guard and Angelyss spent her days in the Covenant House daycare program. Carolina continued to work and save money, and, with the help of her case manager, she secured an apartment of her own. She and Angelyss still live in that same apartment today in midtown Manhattan.
Carolina has been working as an assistant to a group of physicians for more than ten years, inspiring Angelyss to focus on pursuing medicine.
She shared with us that a day doesn’t go by without her thinking what her life would be like if Covenant House wasn’t there for her mom all those years ago: “I learned my ABCs & how to count at Covenant House, and I made my first friend there,” Angelyss told us. “It’s an honor to represent the impact that Covenant House has on homeless kids. Covenant House changed my life – and my mom’s life – and I promise not to take this opportunity for granted.”