20-year-old Demetri Gonzalez entered the foster care system at the age of 10 after being abandoned by his parents. He describes himself as being a “runner” throughout most of his foster care years. He spent 6 years of his childhood in the foster care system, relocating from house to house while never obtaining stability or a support system that would help guide him into adulthood. The vicious cycle of abandonment caused him to seek security elsewhere through gangs and street activity that would never replace the family element that he was denied most of his life. By the age of 13, he was involved in various criminal activities and used drugs regularly. At 16, Demetri was arrested and spent 3 years in California Youth Authority. Upon his release, with no family or support, he was forced back into the streets. Not long after his release, he was gratefully confronted by a street evangelist named Eddie Ortiz, whom he credits for leading him to Path of Life Ministries, where he has spent the last 8 months at the Men’s Recovery Home.
During the course of his short stay, he has managed to obtain a number of accomplishments. He recently completed customer service coursework, life skills and job training programs while also learning basic mechanics and communication practicum. Demetri enjoys the family that he has acquired at POLM, where he has learned the true meaning of the words “surrender,” “salvation” and “submission.” He states that “learning to listen to his leaders and applying what he learns” is the key to growing.
He someday hopes to enter the medical field and begin training for his future. He also would enjoy speaking to other youth who could benefit from his story. In spite of being abandoned as a young boy, Demetri has certainly risen to the occasion. He credits God and all the spiritual mentors that have supported him along the way.
* Demetri is not pictured to protect his privacy.