Offering a hand up

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By Martha Jacob

Eighteen-year-old Moishe Reiter, has experienced a difficult couple of years, including being homeless, but throughout all his problems, he kept one goal in his sights and that was to learn a trade so that he could graduate high school and take care of himself.

Moishe (pronounced Mo-shee) said that he has lived in nine different places since 2017, but he said he always tried to stay optimistic and look forward to the future in hopes that it would get better and he could graduate.

“My grandparents adopted me when I was 13 and living in Miami, Florida,” Moishe said. “But then we moved to Ohio, and eventually my grandparents had to find housing that they could afford, but after I turned 18, I wasn’t allowed to live in the senior housing with them. I was pretty much on my own.”

Moishe said he actually turned 18 over the summer and receives SSI (Supplemental Security Income) due to medical issues. He said he was enrolled at Western Brown High School last year, but ended up living with his sister and her boyfriend in Williamsburg for a while. He also lived with an uncle for a couple of years.

One of his lowest and discouraging points was the day his sister decided since he was 18, he was on his own. Moishe said he had to pack up everything he owned and his sister dropped him off in the Meier’s parking lot at Eastgate and said good bye.

“I just sat in the parking lot for a long time wondering what I was going to do,” Moishe said. “I really couldn’t believe it was happening. I remember one lady came up to me ask if I was waiting on someone and I told her yes. Another person asked me if I was okay. I remember thinking how thoughtful those people were to be concerned for me.”

Eventually, Moishe was able to call his grandparents and his girlfriend for a little help. He stayed with some friends for a while until the truancy officer from Southern Hills tracked him down to find out why he wasn’t in classes.

Even with all the insecurities he experienced, he knew one thing for sure, he would find a way to finish school. Last year he enrolled at Southern Hills Career and Technical Center in Georgetown and met all the criteria. He signed up for the automotive tech class hoping to learn everything he needed to know to become certified and a good mechanic.

“I am glad that the people at Southern Hills were able to track me down, because I know I wouldn’t be where I am today if they hadn’t,” Moishe said.

Angela Gray is the guidance counselor at SHCTC and has taken a personal interest in Moishe’s future.

“The first thing we needed to do was find a place for Moishe to live,” Gray said. “”That was our number one priority. It’s very rare to meet a young man like this who wants to go to school as bad as he does. He was inspirational to us all.”

Gray said that Mike Bailey of the Ammen House in Georgetown took Moishe in and helped him out a great deal, while other people including Jay and Karen Loudon who worked tirelessly to find a place for Moishe to live.

Loudon finally found the perfect apartment for the determined young man, at the perfect location.

“We contacted Jamie Swearingen who owns Swearingen Automotive in Georgetown who has now rented him a very nice apartment above his business,” Gray said. “It’s very nice for Moishe, it’s clean and close to school and he spent his first night there a few days ago.

“A lot of the staff members have donated things to help Moishe get set up. Things like linens, pots and pans and a lot of other things. It’s been a rewarding experience for us all.”

Just recently, members of the Georgetown Fraternal Order of Eagles 2293 presented Moishe with a check for $1,000 to help him finish his education and other donations have also been made.

“Sometimes this all feels like a dream,” Moishe said, “Last night just before I fell asleep in my own bed, in my own apartment, I just looked around at what I had and where I was, and it was just overwhelming to me. I feel proud, I feel grateful and I feel excited about my future and someday I’ll tell other people about my story and how good and giving people truly can be.”

To see what Moishe Reiter needs or to just offer a little help please contact Southern Hills Career and Technical Center at (937) 378-3431.

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