A Valley homeless teen is off the street, and he hopes his story helps others.
“I grew up and I was raised on 16th Street and Broadway,” said 17-year-old Eric Michael Robles. “The neighborhood, all I can say, is full gangs and drugs…and violence.”
All of his friends were on the same path, he said, but he knew wanted something different.
“Me being homeless just gave me more of a motive to change my life,” Robles said.
But things went from bad to worse. Robles’ mother was diagnosed with cancer in 2012. Then she had a stroke. And then…
“Last year she decided to commit suicide,” Robles said.
After taking an array of pills, Robles’ mother went into a coma but did not die. He said he knew that he had had enough.
Robles called Safe Place, a Tumbleweed program designed to help teens get off the streets. Now he has a message for other struggling teens.
“Being something special in an environment where everything kind of knocks down your hope to grow and you strive to still become something beautiful in the end…I really feel like I am the rose from concrete,” said Robles.
It’s there for the youth to help you just grow and give you stability in your life, he said.
“They put food in my stomach, clothes on my back, a roof over my head, and ever since then I have only escalated in my life,” Robles said.
Robles said he now plans to go to the Julliard School to study music and business.
Safe Place has 24-hour emergency call boxes at QT stores and all Valley Metro Light Rail Stations where teens younger than 17 can get immediate help.