Essay on Overcoming Homelessness: Liz's Story

1364 Words 6 Pages
Today in 2014, 22,712 youth are without a place to call home in New York City (“Basic”). Graduating high school often proves to be an extreme challenge for those without a permanent home, especially when they must prioritize their time towards getting their next meal instead of going to class. Many struggle to get a proper education, resulting in students dropping out. Picturing a homeless teenager not only attending high school, but graduating and making it to an Ivy League college seems highly unlikely. Liz Murray is among the few homeless youth who have made it all the way to Harvard University. Through the memoir, Breaking Night, Liz shares her story of her parents’ drug-filled lifestyle and the restrictions that her teenage …show more content…
This, paired with the fact that many homeless teens face bullying and judgement due to their appearance, keep youth from getting a proper education.
As a young girl, Liz grew up with parents who loved her, and cocaine. Their addiction put them, especially her mother, in a fragile state that demanded Liz take on a great deal of responsibility. As she took care of them, many nights staying up with them as they got high, she would not go to school. Not only was she too tired for school, the other kids ostracized her for her poor hygiene and dirty clothing, something she had no control of due to her parents’ negligence with their welfare checks. Liz’s role in her family caused her to blame herself for things that went wrong, things that she had no ability to change. When her mother was diagnosed with AIDS, Liz became angry with herself, believing that the money she gave her mother for drugs, an innocent attempt to help, caused the disease.
When her mother left for another man, Liz stopped going to school altogether, was taken from her father, and put into a group home. She greatly resented her time there and when she was released, moving in with her mother, her mother’s boyfriend, and her sister, it served as a motivation to attend school. At her new school she became friends with some of her classmates. “The group” became her new family. She escaped the full-responsibility

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