Disregarded Heroes: Students Reach Out to Covenant House3 min read

“Disregarded Heroes” is what Colton Harder (pictured left, second row, fourth from the right)of Trinity, Clinton Township calls the kids who live at Covenant House Michigan. In his essay submission for the 8th grade, America & Me Essay Contest hosted by Farm Bureau Insurance, Colton calls them his heroes. “I really admire them,” he said, “for everything they have to go through.”

As he wrote in his essay,“Covenant House kids are faced with what seems like insurmountable challenges; nevertheless, they persevere, and hurdle obstacles to re-invent their lives each day.”

This determination and the courage they show illustrates their heroic journey through life, which should inspire us all.

“Every single teen and young adult who has made the journey to Covenant House has had one thing in common, courage. Courage is what drives people to follow the most challenging, yet rewarding, path. Courage is what compels people to face their fears. Courage is what it takes to vie with the demons of homelessness, overcome them, and restart lives. These young adults should not be disregarded but rather admired because they have unfair odds, sometimes from birth, and have set out to make the best of their circumstances and accomplish unimaginable feats.” -Excerpt from Colton Harder’s essay “Disregarded Heroes”

Colton did not always think about the homeless youth who roam the streets of our cities and often congregate in the abandon buildings of Detroit. Matter of fact, until the beginning of this school year, they really were not part of his world at all.

Trinity’s 8th grade teacher, Mrs. Sally Buss, is the force behind his inspiration. Every year she begins her class with morning devotions and reads them stories of the homeless kids on the streets of New York. Since the stories illustrate youth close to the age of her 8th graders, it really catches their attention. Tied into the readings is an annual school fundraiser to support the local Covenant House in Detroit. This year they held a jeans day where every student was offered the opportunity to pay a $1 for the privilege of wearing jeans to school; for a second dollar they could also wear a casual shirt.

In addition to hosting the fundraiser, the 8th graders also attend the annual homelessness awareness Candlelight Vigil in mid-November. For Colton, attending the vigil was like a dream. He thought it was cool that after writing about them he was able to meet a few of the kids in person!

Thank you Colton and the 8th grade class for your support this year. Thank you to Mrs. Buss and the entire student body of Trinity, Clinton Township School for your ongoing support of the past 14 years!

During the 2011-12 school year there were more than 1,100 homeless students in Macomb County. More than 80% of the homeless families in Macomb County have never been homeless before. In the US an estimated 8 million children have been affected by the foreclosure crisis over the last five years. In Michigan, almost 10% of all children have been directly affected by the foreclosure crisis.

Covenant House Michigan (CHM) is a faith-based nonprofit organization that provides hope to homeless, runaway, and at-risk youth ages 13-22. CHM has come to be known by Detroit area young people as a place they can go to build a better future and be treated with respect and unconditional love. Over 54,785 youth have been served by CHM since its inception in September 1997.

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About the Author

This article was written by Michelle Kuhar and featured on Covenant House Michigan’s website Dec. 2012. Visit for more information about the ministry. Kuhar is working on an MBA with a concentration in nonprofit management at EMU. After interning with Covenant House Michigan in the summer of 2011, she was thrilled to be asked to return a year later in an official position. “As a person of faith, I am continually inspired by the work that God is doing here, and by the faith and courage of the young people we serve. I was deeply touched by Colton’s essay and the insight he shows at such a young age. Stories like his deserve to be recognized for the wisdom and lessons they contain.”

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