Helping Hand Set Wayne On Right Path to Adulthood
Wayne was just 10 when his family moved into the Orlando Union Rescue Mission in 1998. His father, mother and sister, along with Wayne, found themselves needing help when there wasn’t enough work to pay the bills.
“We moved around a lot so I didn’t have many friends. My parents did the best they could, but there were days we didn’t have power or enough food to eat,” Wayne remembered. “But it was all I knew – I thought everyone lived that way.”
The first thing that stood out to Wayne and his family when they arrived was the kindness and support heaped on them. The family had all of their physical needs provided for and the kids were finally able to catch up to their peers in school. Wayne and his sister had been held back a grade and were in danger of falling even further behind if they didn’t receive extra help. Because of the staff and volunteers who tutored them, both Wayne and his sister were caught up in their schoolwork when the family left.
His parents saved enough money at the Mission so the family could move into an apartment of their own in 2002. They never looked back from their time of homelessness, despite losing Wayne’s father in 2004. His mother moved to North Carolina and continued to work to support her children until they both were old enough to move out on their own.
When it came time for college, Wayne decided to follow in the footsteps of his Army veteran father and join the U.S. Navy. “It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made,” he said. “The discipline I learned at the Mission has helped me tremendously in the military.”
Along the way, Wayne married his high school sweetheart in April 2010. They welcomed a son in February 2013. Wayne is stationed in Jacksonville as a Petty Officer Second Class and is pursuing his Bachelors in Human Resources from Jacksonville University so he can work towards becoming an Officer. He is currently deployed and is serving in an area near the Mediterranean Sea.
“The Mission built the foundation of who I am today,” Wayne said. “I am who I am because they took the time to care for me.”
Wayne’s life was changed when he stayed at the Mission as a child. Help create more stories of life transformation through your support today. Your gift of $26.82 provides a hot meal and life-changing care for a homeless man, woman or child in Central Florida.