Teen Homeless & Starving. Prompts Custodian to Show Student Her 'Secret Closet'


Carolyn Collins is a school custodian at Tucker High School in Tucker, Georgia.

She is typically found around school making sure things are tidy for students and teachers alike. Her custodian closet is undoubtedly packed full of everything she needs.

But Collins is dedicated to more than just keeping the school clean. Her personal dedication to the students themselves has led her to create a second custodian’s closest, this one being her “secret closet.”

Three years ago, she was on her early shift when two students were dropped off early at school hungry and alone. The students were homeless.

The custodian knew she needed to do something to help. So Collins began stocking an extra supply closet full of things homeless students might be in need of like snacks, jackets, and school supplies.

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What first began as a collection of items from the lost and found has since transformed into a stockroom full of supplies. Many times, the items are paid for directly out of Collins’ pocket.

The custodian also feels motivated to help students in need after the death of her own son, who was killed during a home invasion.

“I’m just trying to our young boys from stealing and killing,” Collins said.

She explained that it is often homeless children committing such crimes as a cry for attention and help.

She estimated that she helps between 20 and 30 each school year, but believes there are more students who simply aren’t speaking up. Many of the students she helps live in hotel rooms or in cars.

Collins works with the teachers in the school as well, hoping to help the students too shy to ask for help.

“There’s probably more of them, but a lot of kids don’t say anything,” Collins said.

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“I tell the teachers a lot, ‘If you see a child with their head down, the same clothes on day after day, let me know.'”

And in addition to using “Carolyn’s Closet” to supply students with things they need, Collins displays messages of hope and inspiration.

“I’m trying to give ’em all they need in this closet,” she said.

Above all, she simply hopes to give students hope and to let them know that there is someone out there that cares about them.

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Liz was a senior story editor for The Western Journal.
Liz was a senior story editor for The Western Journal.
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