FARGO – For Jospelm “Jojo” Birch, landing in Fargo has been one of the best things that has happened in his life.
The 19-year-old Liberian immigrant has gone from being homeless, sleeping in a car and going weeks without a shower, to having a high school diploma, a job and an apartment, thanks to help from programs run by Fraser, Ltd.
The rail thin youth with an infectious smile knows he’s lucky.
He survived the much-grittier streets of Philadelphia, escaping a life he said threatened to ensnare him in violence, crime and prison.
In Fargo, he’s learned there is safety and people that will help him succeed.
“My life is now under control. Before it was not under control,” Jojo said Wednesday, Nov. 7, at Fraser’s Butler House on South University Drive. He has his own place there as part of the permanent supportive housing program.
“Now I can take a shower in my own apartment and watch TV and all that cool stuff. All the stuff I couldn’t do as a teenager,” Jojo said.
Butler House and the Stepping Stones Resource Center for at-risk and homeless youth – both of which have played a big part in getting Jojo on track, are some of the more recent programs for Fraser, which has been tackling some of the region’s thorniest problems since its inception 125 years ago.