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When I was 8 years old, I ran away from my dad because
he was abusing me. That was eight years ago. I am now
16 years old and go by “Smelly”. My real name is Peter
Jones. I was born in Soho, New York. The only friend I
have is a homeless cat I call Jerry. Here is my story.
In 2019, my dad had pulled the last straw. He was
whacking me with his belt as usual for changing the
channel on the television when he wasn’t even watching it. He smashed the back of my head with the metal part, I screamed in pain and cried but all he said was “shut up weenie”. That night in my “closet” (which is what I call my cramped bedroom) I packed up some clothes and my favorite teddy bear “Teddy.” I shoved as much food as I could in my overflowing backpack. I stopped for a moment at the front door and thought about staying but my dad was just too cruel. On April 2019 at 11:38pm I left the house and never went back.
I met a hobo named Spike who helped me jump on a train to New York City. Spike was really nice, he ran away from home when he was young and had been living on the streets ever since. He was now 19 years old. The next day, I found a shopping cart to put all my stuff in. Spike gave me a few tips on how to survive on the street. “If anyone offers to help you, instantly accept. They will most likely offer you food or take you to an orphanage. Also eat at soup kitchens and volunteer to do something in return.”
The first year was the hardest of all. In the middle of August, a tropical storm hit. All I had to cover myself with was a blanket with half an inch holes in it. I ran out of food the first month and went 4 days without any food or water. The part Spike did not tell me was how to get to a soup kitchen. I finally found one when I asked a civilian. He seemed disgusted with me and asked where my parents were. I told him they were dead, and then he gave me directions. From then on until now I always use the soup kitchen. Two years later when I turned eleven I had one friend, Tom. He was 12 years old and had run away the previous year. We had been hanging out together for a couple of months. On my birthday, he found me a stray cat which I named Jerry. Tom and I were best friends until some people came and took us away. It turns out Tom’s parents did die but no one else wanted him. We were found by his “Aunt Sally” and taken to an orphanage (I managed to sneak Jerry in). Spike had lied; the orphanage was nothing like he said. The owner treated us like we were nothing and was just as cruel as my dad; on top of that no one ever visited the orphanage or adopted any of us. The only good thing is we had a roof over our heads and plenty of food. After a month, I asked Tom if he wanted to run away with me. He declined; he was so hooked to the place that he did not want to move. I left that night with Jerry. I was very sad because I actually thought Tom would be my friend forever. I thought of going back but only if there was a chance I would be adopted by someone. I urge people to go to orphanages and adopt. After awhile the soup kitchen ran out of volunteers and only had two people left to manage it. It took a lot longer for food to come and eventually made one of them quit. A lot of us asked the women if we could help in anyway. She said the only way was to help ourselves. I helped for about a week then stopped. It was too hard to feed all those people, especially for a kid. It was just impossible to serve hundreds of people with just two workers. I wish more people would come to volunteer at the soup kitchens. The week after I stopped volunteering more volunteers joined. It turns out one of the regulars at the soup kitchen had posted up “Help NEEDED” signs all over town to try to get more volunteers. His plan was so successful, that the soup kitchen was overflowing with new workers.
The next three years was a breeze (if you are still counting, I am now 14 years old). The soup kitchens were now safe from closing. The city had now opened more shelters for homeless people due to the stock market decline. When I went back to the orphanage Tom wasn’t there. The City had put more concern in to the homeless and posted fliers about children at orphanages. It read “Come down to New York City orphanages, adopt a child, answer a prayer, save a life.” I still had Jerry who was now Julie because he happened to be a she. Julie had four kittens that I named Jerry, Jack, Jane and John.
When I was discovered by a journalist in 2027 he asked me about my life. After that he took me in and enrolled me in school. I have started to thrive and plan on going to college to become a humanitarian which is someone who helps others in need.
My plan to help the homeless is by involving the community in volunteering at soup kitchens to feed them, providing more shelter to keep them safe, adopting more children to get more of them off the streets, offering more jobs so that they may support themselves and for all of us to show more empathy towards them.
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