Stories of Change

Selvin stands in front of CWS Office in Miami

Selvin’s Journey to a Safer Home

Note before reading: This story includes graphic gun violence.

In the rural area of Honduras, Selvin lived a relatively normal life. He went to school and began working when he was 8 years old in the countryside to help support his mom. Selvin did not complain, however. In fact, he enjoyed working. He shared, “I liked it a lot. What I really liked was milking cows. That’s what I liked most.”

When he was older, Selvin began helping out his mom by dropping his little brother off at school in the mornings before work. One morning he drove out on his motorcycle and took the path he always did, unaware that everything was about to change. After dropping off his little brother, he drove back under a bridge where two men suddenly jumped out and pulled him off his motorcycle. Selvin recounts, “they said ‘give me your money and phone’. Then, I don’t know what happened, maybe the guy’s finger slipped but he pulled the trigger. It was so loud I couldn’t hear. A whole section of my hand was shot off.” Alarmed by what he had done, the man gave Selvin his phone and money back and told him to call his mom. Selvin was in shock. He told us, “I never expected something like this to happen.”

Unfortunately, situations like this one were not uncommon in the town where Selvin lived.  “Over there, you can be harmed for no real reason,” Selvin told us. Following the accident, he was in the hospital for over a month. After he left, it took him another five months to fully recover. 

Selvin had always dreamed of going to the United States where life was safer. He had never met his dad, who lived in Miami, and he imagined going to live with him and creating a better life. 

At age 17, he decided he would leave Honduras and head to the United States. “It was hard, yes, the journey here is pretty intense. You feel moments of terror, there are lots of difficult moments,” he said. After a long and dangerous journey, he made it to the border and stayed at the ORR Custody Center for 12 days. He explained it was a strange feeling for him to be at the center since he was not allowed to make any calls to his mom, dad or siblings. He also said, “It’s pretty rough being there. You don’t sleep because there are too many people and the beds are all side by side. It’s hard to sleep because people make a lot of noise.”

After being released from the center, Selvin was able to finally meet his dad in Miami. He enrolled in the CWS Programs and got assistance with his medical appointments, enrolled in English classes and started working towards getting his GED. “It feels a lot better here because here I have more hope,” he says. “I’m going to school. I want to have a career as a mechanic.” 

In Miami, Selvin feels safer and is able to live his life without the dangers he experienced in Honduras. Many other young people leave their countries unaccompanied, due to dangers similar to the ones Selvin described. CWS is happy to welcome these young men and women and help them create a safer life where they can grow and thrive.