NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. (FOX 35 ORLANDO_ - A non-profit in Florida is going above and beyond to make sure homeless high school students graduate.
Twenty-year-old Tyler Fishler just graduated from New Smyrna Beach High School. In a couple weeks, he will do something he never thought would be possible.
“College,” said Fisher, who just one year ago was homeless and sleeping on a park bench. “My situation before this was rough...my parents were on drugs -- meth specifically. That really took my life into the dumps.”
With his parents out of the picture, a friend told him about Cudas UnHooked. It’s an organization that mentors at-risk teens and even provides shelter to those with no where to go.
“It’s amazing how generous people are,” Fishler said.
The name Cudas UnHooked was inspired by the New Smyrna Beach High School mascot: the barracuda. Since 2009, they have helped more than 180 teens. Ninety percent of them go on to graduate high school.
“If they’re truly dedicated to going to school every day, finding a job, meeting with a mentor and there’s a need, then they’re a good fit for this program,” founder Shawn Lane said.
This home was all built with donations, is debt free and sits on land donated by Habitat for Humanity. Inside, five students live with house mom Dori Proshek.
“I’m so proud of you,” she said to Fishler.
They’re learning to cook, clean and thrive off of the support they so desperately need.
“This community donates money and time and volunteers and energy because they believe in our young people,” Lane said.
“I feel grateful,” Fishler said. “It makes me feel like I’m here for a reason and people believe in me.”
The potential in these teens may not have been realized if it weren’t for Cudas UnHooked.
For more information on how to donate or volunteer, visit the Cudas Unhooked website. https://www.cudasunhooked.org/
Photo: House Mom Dori Proshek, Tyler Fishler, Cudas UnHooked Founder Shawn Lane, Reporter Amanda McKenzie