Testimonial, Young Adult


Alexis was a featured guest at the 2017 Home Again Luncheon, an annual fundraiser lunch for Harvest House that allows our community of supporters and partners to come together to review the year behind us and the year ahead. Here is Alexis’ speech from that day. 

Hi, my name is Alexis. I am grateful for the opportunity to share my story today.

My childhood was good until I was about 8 years old. That’s when my parents got a divorce and my father went to prison. My mother got a new boyfriend and we moved here from New Jersey. We always had a place to live but I never felt safe. I grew up in a family with abuse, DCF and police involvement, drug issues and a lot of drama. One night the police raided our house because my mom’s boyfriend was selling drugs. I was only 13 and the police pointed their guns at me and put me in handcuffs. I was never so scared.

Shortly after my 17th birthday, I gained the courage to tell my mother how I felt about what was happening in the home. However, she sided with her boyfriend and wanted me out of the house, so they charged me $300 per month, even though I was in High School. I couldn’t keep up with the rent and was asked to leave. I stayed with my aunt for a few months but I couldn’t stay there long-term. I needed to leave there but I had nowhere to go. I heard about the New Heights Program at Harvest House from Karen at my school. This program has saved my life! It has given me a safe place to lay my head every night. A place where I don’t have to stress, or worry, or be fearful. I appreciate the food they provide for me and the WIFI, so I can complete my online high school courses.

I have a great case manager, Christie, and mentor, Cathy that I can go to when I need to talk. This program has made it easy for me to focus on my goals, which is to graduate from Riverview High School in May and enroll in the culinary arts program at Suncoast Technical College.

My mother would say to me “You will never graduate…you will never be anything in life” Not only will I prove her wrong but I will be a great role model for my younger sisters and brothers to look up to. Thank you, Harvest House, for making this happen.


Alexis was chosen as 1 of 5 seniors from Riverview High School to be honored by the Education Foundation of Sarasota County, Inc. and Sarasota County Schools at the 2017 Strive Awards Luncheon for “students who have made tremendous achievements while overcoming incredible odds.” Each of the 25 seniors honored was awarded $2,500. Alexis was surprised at the end with a special recognition as 1 of 5 “Super Strivers” and got an opportunity to trade in her $2,500 check for a $5,000 check! We are so proud of this young woman! We LOVE watching her succeed and we know we’ll have many more accomplishments to celebrate with her in the future. She is now studying Culinary Arts at Suncoast Technical College.

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