Many parents make difficult decisions to do what they see as best for their children. For Desran’s mother, that meant leaving him behind with his family in St. Vincent and moving to Canada to work and lay the groundwork for their new life.

When he was finally able to join her at 15 years old, it was difficult for them to connect because they had lived apart for so many years. “We didn’t really have much communication,” he explains, knowing that continuing to live together would only lead to more stress and conflict. But he didn’t have anywhere else to go.

After a particularly difficult interaction with his mother, someone told Desran to go to Eva’s Place. “It was weird!” he says about his first impression of the facility. He’d never been to such a place before. But Desran stuck it out and was determined to make the most of it while he was there, speaking to every Eva’s Place team member he could to get support. “I had to communicate,” he says, naming staff who made a huge difference in his life. “I had to find ways to do what I wanted to do.”

While at Eva’s, Desran continued with high school and participated in life skills and recreational programs. He helped take care of the community garden, assisted at Eva’s events, and even volunteered to make 50 beautiful handmade gifts to show appreciation to Eva’s donors.

It became clear to him just how varied his interests were. “I knew I was always welcome at Eva’s,” he says, “but I didn’t want to be there forever.” With the Eva’s team by his side, he graduated high school, found a job, and his own place to live.

Desran found success in the arts, excelling in photography, dancing, acting, modeling, and more. He has been featured in advertising campaigns, television shows, music videos, and an MTV documentary where shared his experience with homelessness.

Today, Desran continues to explore his creative interests and has found success as a professional photographer. He does everything from landscapes to special events to portraits and fashion shoots. “I’m always thinking about how I can get better and let my work speak for me,” he says. “When I take a picture, I want to tell a story. I want people to feel something.”