Homeless Teen Vows to Give Children a Better Life

By KBJR News 1

November 16, 2011 Updated Nov 16, 2011 at 9:25 AM CDT

Just because you don't see them, doesn't mean they aren't there. Homeless youth are couch hopping, staying with friends, and all too often, trading sex for a place to stay.

Life House in Duluth is helping get these kids off the streets and living healthy, independent lives.

This week Courtney Godfrey is introducing us to a few of the teens who have turned their lives around.

Now we introduce you to Shanise Parker, a young woman working to give her children a better life than she was given.

Shanise never asked to be homeless. Just like she never asked to be abandoned.

"We were hungry and we had no clean clothes and no family to call on," recalls Shanise.

She remembers when her addicted mother left her and her siblings alone for five days, and social workers came to take them.

While in foster care, searching for love and a sense of family, Shanise got pregnant.

"I don't know what made me decide to keep my kids, but I'm glad I did because I don't know where I would be without them."

Once she turned 18, things got tricky. She was no longer under foster care and had no where to go. Without a stable home, social services took her twins away.

"I started seeing myself going down my mom's path and I didn't want that, so I worked hard to get my kids back."

Within one week, she was back with her boys.

It was then that she decided she needed a change, so she came to Duluth, and she found Life House.

"When I walked in the Life House doors it just felt real, it didn't feel fake."

A young woman who had lost her trust in others, and shut out personal relationships, found healing at Life House.

"The love and the care and the support felt so genuine, so true and so real, I couldn't help but open up."

And with a safe home, a high school diploma on the horizon, and a new baby on the way, Shanise feels nothing short of lucky.

"We're not hungry anymore; we're not cold; we're not walking outside in the rain at two a.m. wondering where we were going to sleep. I'm blessed. I can honestly say that. I'm blessed"

Shanise will be receiving her G-E-D in January. From there she hopes to go into social work and help other young girls like herself.

She says her drive to succeed is rooted in her children. She feels if she succeeds she'll be able to give her children the opportunities she was never given.

Below are other stories of previously homeless youth who are turning their lives around:

Shawn's Story

Breanna's Story