On Tuesday, March 25, a graduate of Toussaint Academy named Anthony Lopez sat on the edge of a stage in the auditorium at Francis Parker Elementary School to address a group of sixth graders. There were many times in Anthony’s life where he never could have imagined he would be sharing words of wisdom to anyone, let alone explaining to a younger generation how he overcame the adversities of homelessness. As a teenager life at home for Anthony was chaotic, but in the face of adversity he knew he needed to stay in school. Looking to escape life on the streets, he and his sister Monse (seen here singing the national anthem at a Padres game two years ago) found themselves searching for a new home. Luckily, they found Toussaint Academy through a staff person at Anthony’s school.
Located at 5th Ave and Ash Street in downtown San Diego, Toussaint is a licensed group home serving homeless youth in San Diego County ages 14-18. Toussaint Academy provides support and opportunities to up to 30 at-risk youth who have faced unimaginable challenges. Since 1992, the academy has delivered a comprehensive array of services to help residents with the life skills necessary to become independent, contributing members of society. By connecting youth with caring adults, Toussaint Academy emphasizes each individual’s strengths while providing them with opportunities to learn healthy behaviors. “Toussaint teaches you to be quite responsible in its own ways,” Anthony says. “I’m extremely grateful for everything they have done and continue to do for me.”
Anthony is now a junior at UCSD majoring in Computer Engineering. According to Jim Bailey, Director at Toussaint, Anthony “…is doing fabulous at UCSD.” He recently received a prestigious UC LEADS scholarship and appointed captain of his badminton team at an unprecedentedly young age. Anthony and his sister Monse serve as wonderful examples of what can happen when we intervene in the lives of our homeless neighbors and offer them long-term solutions for self-sufficiency.
If you have any questions about Toussaint Academy of San Diego or would like to volunteer or donate, please contact Director Jim Bailey at 619-687-1080 ext. 248 or firstname.lastname@example.org.