It has been a long time since anything good has happened for Jaylan Gray and his brother, Julian Nicholson.
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Over the past few years, the brothers lost both their parents and grandparents. This left 22-year-old Jaylan struggling to raise his 12-year-old brother Julian by himself in their Katy, Texas home. When 2017’s Hurricane Harvey and the winter freeze of 2021 destroyed the home, Jaylan felt helpless and alone.
“At one point, I was just done with the house,” Jaylan said. “I was ready to sell it at one point. It was too much weight on my shoulders. I couldn’t do it.”
That’s when their community stepped in to let them know that they’re not alone. Not only that, but they came prepared to shoulder the burden and give Jaylan a much-needed break!
Katy Responds is a non-profit started in 2018 that helps Texas families recover from disasters. The organization reached out to the brothers with an offer to help. With the help of dozens of local volunteers, they completely renovated the home in about three months.
“There’s just no way they could’ve lived in it and probably would’ve never fixed it,” said Katy Responds Executive Director Ron Peters, who added, “I want you to have a safe place to live. I want you to be able to not worry about your home, for a few years. This is what we do. It’s hard work. It’s non-profit work, but it’s why we do it is for those guys.”
Jaylan and Julian couldn’t hold back the tears as they toured their new home, which was fully furnished by Lakewood Church in Houston.
“I love it,” said Jaylan. “I’m speechless, way more than we asked for. Completely grateful.”
Before she passed away, the boys’ mother asked Jaylan to take care of his little brother. It’s a promise he takes seriously, and having a safe place to live relieves a ton of pressure.
“[I] try my best to keep him in check, make sure he doesn’t get in trouble and make sure he’s loved,” Jaylan said emotionally.
As for Julian, the tears flowed freely as he thanked his community for helping them feel a little bit less alone in the world.
“It makes me so happy to see that there’s good people,” Julian said through tears. “I just like the way we’ve been treated. I didn’t think anything good would happen.”
Good things do happen, Julian! Especially when people come together for a common good. We’re so glad this community is standing by these young men.
Jaylan has a long road ahead of him, but knowing he’s got support from his community makes all the difference.
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