Angelo Whittis - a troubled teen finds a new life
Jim Bates | On 07, Nov 2013
How a High School football coach forever changed the life of a homeless teen
Most kids and teenagers don’t have to worry about where they’re going to sleep or what they’re going to eat from one day to the next. However, sadly, there are over 1.5 million children and teens in the United States who are homeless and that was the unfortunate case for Angelo Whittis, an abandoned and struggling Detroit area teenager. That was until one day when his coach realized, after dropping him off at yet another different location after football practice, that Angelo had no permanent place to live.
From a very early age, Angelo was a victim of a broken home and a broken family, two things that are quite often associated with one another. Unfortunately, Angelo never knew his father and his mother was in and out of prison throughout most of his young life.
On occasions he would move in with his grandmother or his uncle but both had drinking problems and often young Angelo found himself the target of their abuse. As hard as it might be for many of us to imagine, Angelo found it safer to try and make it on the streets. The result was him staying with friends when possible, in cars, vacant buildings or even outside whenever he had nowhere else to go.
It was during his first football season at River Rough High when his new coach, Cory Parker, noticed that Angelo had no permanent place to stay, possibly no family. He made the decision to open up his heart and his home to this struggling teen. “Anybody who can go through what this kid has gone through in one lifetime, and still find a way to get up again and again after being repeatedly knocked down… well, I think they are amazing”, said Coach Parker, River Rough High’s head coach.
It’s been nearly two years since this fateful relationship between coach and player began. Angelo is now a senior and still lives with Coach Parker, his wife and their infant son who Angelo says has become “like a little brother” to him. His transformation from a troubled youth on the road to a life of crime to the person he has become now is awe inspiring. Not only is Angelo now the starting quarterback for his high school’s varsity football team, he will proudly let you know that his name can also be found on his high school’s Honor Roll list… and rightly so.
When asked about the kindness and generosity of coach Parker welcoming him into his home and into his family, says Whittis, “It meant a lot to me, I finally felt like I was somebody. For him to take me in not knowing me from anybody… it was a blessing”.
Now that Angelo has a new family and a new lease on life, he has his sights set on the future, which, if everything goes as planned, will include a likely college football career and a college education.
What else would we expect from a WINNER!
Thanks for reading and go out and do something for someone today. You never know what one simple act of kindness or selflessness might do for someone who really needs it!
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