The bone-cold night that Lamar crawled into an unlocked church van to sleep was the same night he knew he had to ask for help. At age 22, he had recently discovered a passion for politics, but he had also become homeless. His days were spent trying to find food and shelter, and he had little time or energy for anything else.

“The most difficult thing is that people assume that homelessness is who you are. But it’s really just an experience,” says Lamar. “At Star House, they made me feel like I was worth something more than just my experience.”

Star House, the only 24/7 drop-in center for homeless youth in central Ohio, was a place where Lamar could eat, shower and rest, get connected to resources, and find support and encouragement. Once his basic needs were met, the staff helped put him on a path to pursue his purpose in his life. And he wasted no time doing just that. He found a job, obtained an associate’s degree and started volunteering.

Four years after the program changed his life, Lamar is back at Star House changing the lives of homeless youth in our community as an Outreach Specialist. This past spring, at age 26, he ran for the Ohio House of Representatives in District 25.

“My true passion in life is to help others find theirs,” says Lamar. “At Star House, I found people who cared and a foundation that allowed me to pursue my passions. I’m so glad for the partnership between United Way and Star House, and for the work they do in the community.”

Donate today to United Way of Central Ohio’s Community Impact Fund. You’ll help homeless youth find resources to meet their basic needs, giving them the opportunity to build a brighter future.

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