Imagine this life . . .

A young boy, 15 years old, living in squalor with his 41 year-old mother and 5 siblings (only one with whom he shares a father). He doesn’t remember his father who took off when he was just 5 years old, and his mother doesn’t really care what happens to him. She makes a habit of telling him she wanted to “flush him” (as an unwanted child) and that his father has legally disowned him.

He’s moved 7 times in 2 years (6 times within 6 months). He has been bounced around to live with some of mom’s friends but hasn’t ever had a real bed to sleep in. Finally he lands back with mom and 5 siblings living in a 1-bedroom apartment located 11 miles away from school. When there is money the kids take the bus to school, when there isn’t money they just don’t go to school. He is failing his classes.

Mom has now been diagnosed with cancer but doesn’t give any details to the kids. They don’t know what’s going to happen to her or to themselves and are scared.

Does this boy stand a chance at life? How does he cope with the reality ahead of him?

Fear and Desperation . . .

It’s hard to imagine how a boy living such a life can ever have a shot at happiness, success, career or marriage. He doesn’t even understand what that looks like. It’s not a part of his life experience.

At a point of desperation, this boy is matched with a mentor from Shoulder-To-Shoulder. They begin doing small activities to build common ground – bike rides, going to restaurants, outings to Old Sacramento and more. As the relationship grows, the trust grows. Friendly discussions turn to a strong bond, the boy looks forward to their time together and the mentor gives the boy a new perspective on life, a new understanding of the possibilities ahead and a path to find his way.

The mentor becomes such an important figure to this boy and his family that the mother actually opens up to him about her dire condition. The cancer has spread to kidneys, liver, blood and now brain. The kids don’t know any of this and she asks the mentor to explain to her boys what is happening. The mentor delivers the news that her illness is not curable and that time is precious.

New Perspectives, New Opportunities

Over the past two years life has changed significantly for the boy. His mentor got him enrolled in the Summer Math and Science Honor’s Academy (SMASH) at UC Davis. He also joined the Royal Ranger Junior Leadership Training program which is a Christ-based Boy Scout Troop. He spends weekends at his Mentor’s house and joins his family for church on Sunday.

Despite all of the positive influences, this boy still has obstacles that he is overcoming. His mother’s illness, lack of motivation at school, drugs in the home, etc. But rather than have to navigate on his own, he has a mentor who can help him understand the consequences and benefits to the choices he makes and help him find a new path for his future.

Help for the Future . . .

There are currently 27 boys waiting for a mentor. Without this person in their life, they may not have a chance at success in their future. Please donate whatever you can to help fund mentors for these boys in waiting. You can help! Donate Today.




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