Man says Covenant House gave him a second chance to change his life

Twenty years ago Anthony Hugger found himself at Covenant House Michigan - determined to turn his life around.

"The judge that I had - he said it very matter of fact - change your life or I'll change it for you," Anthony said. "My first month there, I got my driver's license, Social Security card, birth certificate, first full-time job - and enrolled in school."

It's what Covenant House does - offering housing, food, education, employment - to young people who find themselves homeless - hopeless - this is where they get a chance at love and life.

"I took that second chance literally," he said. "Learning a lot about life, responsibility, job skills, you know, life skills."

Anthony never forgot what they did for him and always stayed involved with Covenant House - eventually going into the transportation business - working at DDOT, the Q Line - working his way up.

"Started out as a bus driver, went up to a road supervisor, operations supervisor, training manager," he said. "And now - honestly it's a dream come true - I've been offered a very unique position that I can honestly say 99.9 percent of people in the country won't ever receive."

It's the job offer of a lifetime - in Alaska.

"Working as the safety and transit manager for Denali National Parks in Alaska," he said.

Working for Aramark, overseeing training for their bus drivers - transporting visitors and employees on the majestic mountain.

"There's no doubt in my mind that without Ms. Adams and the staff at Covenant House, I would not be where I am today," he said.

Anthony is one of many success stories and the reason he and so many others support Covenant House and the young people they serve.

"This is a cause that you don't often think about until you get a chance to meet some of the residents, meet the staff -  understand how critical these services are," said Jessica Roy, Covenant House Sleep Out.

Roy is part of the Young Professionals Sleep Out team - raising money and awareness for homeless youth.

The Sleepout for Young Professionals has been virtual for the past two years because of Covid, but this Friday it returns to Covenant House Michigan and they'll be sleeping out on the basketball court.

Braving the elements to sleep out in support of the estimated 17,000 young people in Michigan without a permanent home.

"It is going to be a little chilly but I think that's all part of the experience," said Abbey Jacobs, Covenant House Sleep Out. "We're able to go home to our warm homes at the end of the night and I think that's something that we all recognize to not take for granted."

While the sleep out is underway, Anthony will be getting packed and ready to drive 3,000 miles up through Canada to Alaska and his new job that starts in April.

Because it's considered seasonal, there is no moving stipend - so he's set up a GoFundMe to help cover the cost of gas and lodging for this week-long trip - and this once in a lifetime opportunity for a guy who got a second chance at life - because of Covenant House Michigan.

"The foundation that they laid for me, made me into the man that I am today - and I'm very grateful for it," he said. "I'm hoping that I'll be able to make things happen."

For links: 

Go HERE for Anthony's GoFundMe.

Go HERE to register to sleep out or to donate to Covenant House Michigan.

Anthony Hugger

Anthony Hugger