When it comes to loving your neighbor, Mother Teresa said it best when she asked, "I want you to be concerned about your neighbor. Do you know your next door neighbor?
A community in Ennis has answered that call for a young man and former foster child who had reached the end of his rope.
It’s an example of what can happen when we don’t expect Child Protective Services to take care of everything and instead work together to help foster children and the ones who have aged out of the system.
LINK: Kalon Smith GoFundMe
The path of least resistance has never been an option for 18-year-old Kalon Smith. He took us to the park in Ennis he recently called “home.”
Kalon showed us the bench he slept on this past winter out in the elements.
“So I would walk up here to this table. Set my bag up here or set it under here, put a piece of clothing right here so I don't hurt myself right there and I would lay down and go to sleep like this.”
Kalon is a former foster child.
He was in care when he was 2 years old.
And then again last year at age 17. When a judge sent him back to live with his mom, he says things quickly went sour.
"I was kicked out of the house. I packed my bag and left," he said.
Kalon ended up homeless.
He slept on a park bench battling North Texas weather in January and February, while going to Ennis High School to try and graduate.
"This is it. This is all I have to my name," he said holding up one bag of clothes.
Kalon had no documents, no place to live and no one who cared.
"I was hungry. Tired. Now showers. It was just hard. Living in a park is just not the way to go," he said.
Or at least he thought no one cared until he knocked on Brook Welton's door asking for some food.
“Kalon is a good kid. Was wanting to work. Was wanting to get his high school diploma. Wanted to go out and start becoming a man and was having trouble doing it," said Welton.
She lives in the neighborhood where Kalon used to live. Welton was familiar with his situation and knew her family could do more.
“We told him he was welcome to stay with us as long as he keeps his head on straight and goes on the right path we're willing to help," she said.
While at Welton's house, Kalon got food in his belly, a roof over his head and help from a church down the street.
“I think the goal is to get Kalon on a path," said Brandon Hixson. He’s the Worship pastor at Tabernacle Baptist Church.
Tabernacle also wrapped its arms around Kalon.
“It truly does take a village to surround these people and I see so much potential in him," said Pastor Hixson.
The church helped Kalon apply for his social security card, find a job and get emotional support.
“I really don't know how to put it in words, just thankfulness because if it wasn't for them honestly I think I would still be sleeping in the park somewhere," said Kalon.
Instead he's preparing for graduation, learning about bank accounts and saving up money to move out on his own.
It’s all happening with a safety net of people who took the time to love a stranger.
"Brooke has been my backbone. She's my mother figure now," said Kalon about the woman who offered up her home.
“He's never said that to me,” said Brook with tears rolling down her face. “That's really sweet. That's really sweet."
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