Deshawn's Story

You ask where I grew up? A warm, comfortable, three story house in Muskegon. Quiet and everywhere you turn you see respect. My neighbors were not the type to think they’re better than you.

Family life was a struggle for me. I was adopted when I was 6 years old due to abuse. I’m not sure if you’re supposed to remember things at the age of 5, but I remember it like the back of my hand. I was adopted by my father’s sister (aunt). Progressing into a much better lifestyle but things were by far not easier. I grew up with three sisters and four brothers. Although we had a nice big house, I still felt incomplete, like no one understood me, especially being the youngest. So, I decided to do things on my own. I’m not saying I didn’t get along with them but I can say that I didn’t have a relationship like I should have.

Growing up, I was always on lockdown because I couldn’t stay out of trouble. Stealing, lying, skipping class, being a clown; all of these things I did came back and bit me in the ass. Coming home I didn’t get the belt to the butt. Instead, my dad would make me hold out my hand, and he would swing the belt back and hit me seven times in each hand. Mind you, it hurt like hell, left bruises all up my arm, but I got used to the pain.

These experiences have impacted my life in a way where I learned that you can’t just do what you want because you interfere with other people’s lives and hard work. To understand this, you would have to try to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and see things from their side.

Deshawn basketball
If you’ve been through or are still going through a lot… fight! Never lose faith! – Deshawn

There are a variety of things I could name that made me homeless, but the main one would have to be that I was so in denial and refused to listen to the people who wanted to help me. I kept running away, trying so hard to find my purpose. Being home, I felt so unwanted. 

The day I decided to go meet my biological mom, my life changed forever. Her smoking and drinking rubbed off on me. I ended up staying with her realizing there’s more to this picture than meets the eye. After a while of living the street life – getting drunk and high all the time – I got addicted. If I didn’t do those things every day I felt abnormal. Plus, my ex-girlfriend, who was doing things behind my back, didn’t help. I was in love with her. I got punked by my “friends” and used.

The weirdest part of all this was that I was very aware. I just didn’t care. Eventually, after doing two months in jail for some retail fraud that caught up with me, I realized that things happen for a reason. Instead of doing what I had to… I fell right back down. Things got worse, I turned to suicide, just having crazy and abnormal thoughts like, “what if I wasn’t here, would anybody miss me?” 

...but there's more to my story.

Deshawn YES

I ended up in Pine Rest for three weeks. I decided to stay in Grand Rapids to get a fresh start. Arbor Circle, my friend I met here in Grand Rapids, and my pals are what keep me going every day. 

The person I was when I came to Mel Trotter is much like the person I am now. I have priorities now and important adult responsibilities that are making me grow as a person.

If I had not come to the mission I would have probably fell back to my old ways. Having a curfew helps to keep me out of trouble.

I want to be a mechanical engineer and/or a model. My goal is to take every opportunity that comes to me.


To the people who make these opportunities, I would like to especially thank you! Without your help and dedication, I don’t know where I would be. You see the best in me and I really appreciate it. Knowing me, I can be hard to cope with sometimes.

The thing is I’ve been thrown away more than I mentioned, but I’m not using it as a defense mechanism. I’m using it as a reason to get up and get to work every day. I don’t have a lot of people on my side. It doesn’t bother me. If you’ve been through or are still going through a lot… fight! Never lose faith!

My favorite Bible verse is: “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24.  

Deshawn's new chapter

Loading Content...