Bruno, a young man of about 22 (or 24…we were never really sure of his age) came in to see me recently. Bruno was 15 years old when first placed at Nashua Children’s Home. His family had emigrated from Brazil, but his step-father rejected Bruno as his skin was “too dark” and he and Bruno’s mother moved back to Brazil, leaving Bruno to fend for himself in Nashua. He spoke very little English, had the support of a married sister, but lived where he could, and worked long hours at Market Basket to support himself, most of his earning going to a landlord who essentially took all of his money.

Bruno at first objected to his placement at Nashua Children’s Home as we would not allow him to work upwards of 40 hours per week. He had his troubles here, both within the program, at school, and in the community. Some run-ins with law enforcement jeopardized his immigration status and there was concern voiced around whether we should maintain our commitment to Bruno. His English improved, he played football at Nashua High, and eventually earned his high school diploma.

Bruno took up tenancy in our Transitional Living Program, generally did well there, and eventually moved out to his own apartment.

When he came in today, he had a number of baseball caps that he said he wanted to donate (predominantly Yankees hats; I pretended to throw them out the window). He then told me that he had been promoted at work, showed me his company picture-ID, and said, “I want to give you this as well,” and proceeded to take a wad of bills from his pocket, the first one being a $100 bill, and handed the wad to me. He said, “I told God that I wanted to give back, and I was going to give this to the church….but I’m giving it to you.” I peeled of a half-dozen hundred dollar bills, followed by a few of smaller denominations. All told, Bruno donated $654 to Nashua Children’s Home today; he gave back.

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