Katrina’s aftermath was not Landon’s first taste of being homeless. “I was living on the streets of
New Orleans when I was thirteen years old. I didn’t have much of anything, even before the hurricane.”
But Landon did have one thing: an uncle who cared about him. After moving to Vancouver, WA, with his uncle, Landon graduated from high school and then applied to the plastering program at Columbia Basin Job Corps.
Landon enjoys the hands-on trade. “I don’t like to sit around,” he says. “I want to do something with my life.”
While Landon is slated to graduate in March, he’s not ready to leave yet. “I’d like to stay on a little longer,” he says. “Get as much experience as I can.”
Part of Landon’s Job Corps experience during the last fourteen months included a month-long effort renovating the Stonewater Ranch in Leavenworth run by Youth Dynamics. He also worked on a local Habitat for Humanity home. Aside from how good it felt to be giving back to the community that has helped him, Landon says the actual work experience was very valuable. “It really gave me a feeling of how it would be on a job site.”
Landon says his uncle couldn’t be more proud of him. “When I first came, I didn’t cooperate as much as I should have. I had a real negative attitude. Then I started to realize what Job Corps was trying to do for me. I began to trust the staff and my peers. I learned to communicate.”