Daniel spent his early childhood living in abandoned homes and under bridges, never owning anything other than what he carried in a backpack.
“A regular dinner would be free ketchup packets from restaurants and about 20 coffee creamers to make a small cup of milk,” recalls Daniel, now 34, of his earliest memories.
One day while waiting at a bus stop, seven-year-old Daniel ran inside a Burger King to use the restroom. When he returned, his mother had left without him. Certain she would be back, he waited patiently inside by the window, watching for his mother who would never return. This started the roller-coaster phase of his time in foster care.
Sadly for Daniel, things didn’t get much better. He remembers being locked in closets, and in one year alone, he attended nine different schools. He frequently moved from home to home.
“Saying goodbye was just a normal part of life in the foster system. It became easy to shut off; there was no time to grieve, just had to move on. Until I got to BGC, I never really learned to settle or feel stable.”
At the age of nine, Daniel’s case worker brought him to Boys and Girls Country (BGC) and his life began to change.
“I would be homeless or dead without BGC,” Daniel states. “It was the first time in my life anyone actually said out loud, ‘I care’ or ‘I love you.’ I never had that before. But I also knew they expected the best from me. I realized for the first time that I was really smart, and they taught me how to be disciplined in my work and studies. That was a skill I carried all the way through college. Without it, I never would have succeeded”.
As well as the constant support and expression of love from teaching parents and staff at BGC, Daniel found unconditional friendship and a lifelong bond with his mentor, George Adams.
“I expressed an interest in golf, so one day a staff member at BGC asked their friend who played if he would teach me,” Daniel remembers. That mentorship turned into friendship, and then eventually their bond became like a father and son. Daniel still lovingly refers to him as “Dad.” The pair stayed in touch all throughout college and until his death just last year. Daniel fondly shares, “He gave me the advice and tough love of a true father.”
Armed with life skills and a disciplined mindset, Daniel graduated from the University of Houston – Downtown with a 3.4 GPA, and is now the Director of Community Services for United Way of Central Texas. He mentors 5th and 6th graders and has great pride in returning the love and guidance he once received through so many people along his journey.
Your support of BGC means so much more than a provision of shelter and food. Teaching life skills and providing loving mentors helps kids do more than just survive their circumstances. It teaches them to thrive, to overcome adversities, and to rewrite their destinies with faith and hope for their future.
Thank you for giving our children a chance to overcome adversities and change the trajectories of their lives! Thanks to your generous support and God’s Grace lives are being changed at Boys and Girls Country.