By Mary Schmich
On a Thursday night in late June, Tavarion Laquon Foster put on his best clothes — khaki pants, black loafers, black shirt buttoned almost to the top — and went downtown to celebrate his college scholarship from the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless.
Growing up, Tavarion hadn’t thought of himself as homeless. He was 6 years old when he began going to sleep at night without a bed to call his own, but in his mind, moving from home to home, and bed to bed, was just life.
That evening at the scholarship ceremony he sat in the front row, leaning forward to listen to the other winners. It felt good to be with people whose lives weren’t so different from his.
There was a young woman who’d lived in shelters and in homes without hot water. There was a young man who had to switch schools every time he switched houses. One student had moved from Louisiana to her aunt’s home in Evanston only to have the family evicted.
When Tavarion’s moment at the lectern came, he stepped forward and began with thank you’s to the coalition, to his mentor and to the woman snapping photos from one of the guest seats.
“My beautiful mother,” he told the crowd, without explaining how extraordinary it was that the two of them were in this room, and for this purpose, together.