Studies show that as many as 380,000 teens under the age of 18 years old will experience a period of homelessness for at least a week. According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, it is harder to pin down an exact number for teenagers than it is for adults.
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“Homeless youth are less likely to spend time in the same places as homeless people who are in an older age range,” says their website. “They are often less willing to disclose that they’re experiencing homelessness or may not even identify as homeless. They also may work harder to try to blend in with peers who aren’t homeless.”
For Hunter Mollett, these statistics were very real.
As early as his sophomore year in high school, Hunter struggled with homelessness and hunger. Days would go by in between meals and yet Hunter still woke up every morning and went to his classes at Enterprise High School in Mississippi. He went through his days turning in homework, hanging out with friends, and attending band practice and no one knew what was going on outside of school hours.
“There’s no real reason to get down about it,” Hunter told Today when asked how he stayed positive during this time. “[But] some days I do get kind of down about it. Nobody knows what it is like to do stuff like that.”
But Hunter wanted to do more than just get by.
In fact, Hunter had a huge goal set in place for his dream college of choice, and that dream turned out to be an incredible motivator during this unsteady time in his life. From sophomore to senior year of high school, Hunter went through varying degrees of homeless but– through it all– he held onto his ultimate dream of attending Harvard University.
Hunter had dreamed of attending Harvard ever since he was a young boy watching the show “Boston Legal” with his mother. When he asked how the characters on the show became lawyers, she answered that they went to Harvard. Hunter recalls that conversation as the moment in time he decided that he wanted to go to Harvard.
When teachers at Enterprise High School learned about Hunter’s home life, they immediately worked to help Hunter however they possibly could. Coming together to pay for school pictures or rides home when he needed it, the ultimate sacrifice was when Hunter’s band director Mark Edwards gave Hunter a place to live before even consulting his wife.
Now that Hunter is a senior, he is living with his grandmother and working to finish up the end of his high school career. When he graduates, he will have achieved the second highest GPA at the school along with founding an annual “LOVE” project which is focused on giving back to the school employees who are often forgotten.
Recently Hunter was not only invited to attend the prestigious university, but was also given almost a full scholarship. Hunter plans to work towards a degree in biomedical engineering and we have no doubt that he will succeed!
After blowing everyone away with his perseverance and determination, Hunter has proven that he also has a very selfless and generous heart. When asked if he was angry towards his parents for not providing a more stable home life, Hunter told Today that “everyone veers off the right path once in a while. I really do love my parents.”
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