Life of despair can mend for RCC student this holiday

Editor's note: Light One Candle is an annual series sponsored by the Mail Tribune that focuses on an individual, group or agency that could use a helping hand during the holiday season. Once that need is filled, donations may be distributed to others in need. The series continues daily until Wednesday, Dec. 22.

Warm clothes, cell phone minutes and household items will help this young man whose life has been filled with adversity.

James' first memory is of his house burning down and his uncle dying from the fire. Shortly thereafter, his mother committed suicide. James' dad turned to drinking and drug use.

James recalls many nights of "drunken beatings." He often went days without food or clean, weather-appropriate clothes to wear. Eventually James went to foster care, though this living situation was not much better as his foster parents abused him.

James was returned to his father, only to see him continue drinking and using drugs and attempt suicide two times while James was home.

Throughout all of this, James was able to maintain good grades in high school, and graduated with honors. When James turned 19, he left home with only a backpack. Ultimately he found a place to live, thanks to Community Works' Transitional Living Program. He is learning life skills and has access to case management and weekly therapy sessions. He is now a student at Rogue Community College and plans to work toward a teaching degree at Southern Oregon University.

"I tell myself that no matter how bad life seems for me, just keep going and hope that one day it will get better," James says.

James needs non-stick cooking pots and pans of various sizes, cooking utensils, sheets, pillowcases for a full/double bed, pillows, AT&T go phone minutes and more.

If you can help, please contact Julia at Community Works at 541-779-2393, ext. 247.

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