Anthony began working with GPC this past summer. He is an incredibly kind-hearted, gentle soul and is a great addition to our team. If you’ve spent any time with him at our markets, you’ll probably know he loves music, crystals and philosophy. He is a very open individual and graciously agreed to share his story with us. We hope that you enjoy getting to know him, and through his story develop a deeper understanding of the complex issues our youth face.
Anthony was born in Mississippi but was raised in Louisiana by his grandma, whom he lived with through High School. During his senior year, Anthony connected with an older individual whom he thought was a friend and who had offered to give him a job in the music industry. Instead, this person took advantage of Anthony’s trusting nature and used him for his own financial needs. Anthony got caught up in a bad situation with this “friend” that resulted in him being fired from his job. Losing his job meant he stopped contributing to household expenses, causing his grandma to get evicted from her home and Anthony to become homeless. He eventually moved in with an Aunt, but she refused to help him with food. He started trying to find odd jobs, such as cutting his neighbors grass, so he could afford to eat. He was living off of food scraps when he decided to take a risk and come to Minnesota to find his birth mom, thinking that nothing could be worse than the situation he was in.
Upon arriving here, he stayed with a sister until she kicked him out. He was eventually able to locate his mom and move in with her, but she was also evicted. Anthony found himself homeless again, this time in a foreign state. Thankfully, he started accessing services at Youthlink, a drop-in center in downtown Minneapolis. With their help he was able to get a bed at an emergency shelter, which he recognized was better than staying on the streets. Most recently, he was placed in a transitional living program where he can temporarily stay until securing his own housing.
Anthony has several dreams for his future, all evolving around his primary passion of music. First, he plans to attend college to secure a business degree. He wants to break into the music world as a producer, and believes knowing business would help him do this. Eventually, he’d like to start some kind of music program for other youth experiencing homelessness, and already has some ideas of how he could partner with Gutter Punk Coffee to do this. Anthony is glad to be working with us because he is learning the skills he’ll need to find employment after graduating from our program. He shared that he’s learned how to interact with different kinds of people, how to handle challenging customer service situations and how to cooperate with co-workers as part of a team. It is also helping him learn how to manage his money better, particularly how to save for upcoming expenses and not spend all his tips at once.
We admire that through everything that’s happened, Anthony maintains his caring nature and continues to treat others with kindness. He is working hard to stay on track and avoid getting pulled back into street-life, and we’re so happy our paths have crossed. Come strike up a conversation with him at one of our markets. You’ll see what we mean when we say music is his life!