Oscar, a 22-year-old Covenant House Texas (CHT) resident hailing from Jacksonville, Florida, finds hope in his determination to achieve independence after surviving heartbreaking loss.
Raised by his grandmother alongside his older brother and sister, Oscar experienced the unfortunate and devastating loss of his grandmother due to COVID-19 in October of 2020. In the following years, he lost both his big brother and closest friend.
Mourning the loss of the two people who were closest to him, he also grieved the dreams this trio had of finding success as entrepreneurs together.
Experiencing the heavy burden of grief and facing homelessness, he took a leap of faith and set his sights on the city of Houston for a fresh start. After researching shelters where he could find the services he needed, Oscar set his sights on CHT. Determined and hopeful, he traveled the farthest from home he has ever been on a two-day bus trip to our Bayou City, arriving at CHT on December 31, 2022.
“It was definitely scary,” said Oscar. “That was the longest ride I’ve ever taken, and I was on the Greyhound bus thinking, I don’t know what I’m coming to, I don’t know anybody here.”
While his fierce commitment to taking his life back never wavered, Oscar experienced an unfortunate setback just seven days after arriving on campus. Feeling accomplished after a week of successful job interviews, he was playing a friendly game of basketball with CHT youth and suffered a ligament tear in his foot.
Unfortunately, this meant the employment he secured at a fast-food restaurant was put on hold for eight weeks while his injury healed. Feeling discouraged but not defeated on the road to recovery, he further developed one of his favorite hobbies—reading books on personal finance and business.
“When I got into reading books and watching videos on entrepreneurship and self-motivation, I was able to see how other successful people also overcame hardship and dealt with the same emotions I have,” said Oscar. “If they’ve made it through, so can I.”
Now, he vows to never take his mobility and ability to work for granted. Once he was cleared to work at the restaurant, he never missed a shift and carried that track record into his current position in customer service.
Oscar’s determination to succeed is fueled in part by his desire to care for his 4-year-old daughter and 1-year-old son who live with their current guardian in Florida. Missing them greatly, he has filled up three notebooks with ideas—from lawncare services to custom rugmaking to real estate investment—meant to create a bright future for himself and his children.
Now working at a local games and entertainment venue, Oscar finds joy in engaging with customers and making them laugh, showcasing his natural people skills. It is a stark contrast to his life in Florida, where the lack of opportunity for him to flourish as a people person makes him more appreciative of his newfound strength in connecting with others. As he plans a summer trip to visit his children, Oscar reflects on his journey of resilience, determination and pursuit of success.
“It’s not what happens to you that matters, it’s how you handle it that counts,” said Oscar.