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A Champion’s Story

Elijah isn’t what you would expect for a teenager.

Growing up in Paterson, NJ, he spent his childhood in numerous foster homes and schools. The consistency he found in life came from the basketball courts of Street2Street. No matter where he lived or who he lived with, the courts were home and Street2Street his family. When he turned 18, he graduated from high school and outgrew the foster care system. Now instead of moving between foster homes, he was making his bed at whichever homeless shelter had room.

Elijah is different though.

Determined to rise above his situation, he called the one he knew would answer, Coach André Rousseau, to help him look for a job.

You would expect, at this point, for the story to end simply with him finding a job.

But that’s not how a champion’s story is written.

The day Elijah called André was also the day André was volunteering to deliver Thanksgiving boxes to Street2Street families through Star of Hope, a prominent organization serving the Paterson community for over 100 years.

Despite not eating for days, needing a job and a place to sleep that very night, Elijah asked if he could volunteer too. He found joy and purpose in serving over 20 Street2Street families that day. Time after time he would race up to the door with a smile bigger than the box he was delivering, excited to see his friends and thankful they would have food on their table for Thanksgiving.

Two days later, Elijah wasn’t sitting in a homeless shelter, nor was he hungry. Instead, he was sitting at the dinner table of Coach André, surrounded by family and a Thanksgiving feast.

Having a coach and mentor like André has been a game changer for Elijah. He’s been able to look beyond his circumstances to set goals and even find the courage to dream again.

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