Summerville teen turns houses into homes for people in need
Summerville, S.C. (WCIV) —
It’s a Jefferson Awards first: a legacy. A young man who learned about giving back from his sister.
Remember Katie of Katie’s Krops? She has been growing fruits and vegetables for people in need for years.
Her brother, 15-year-old John Michael Stagliano is this month’s Jefferson Award winner.
John Michael's idea first blossomed at a Summerville homeless shelter.
"After we started making meals for the Home of Hope, we realized when they moved out into an apartment or wherever they go they didn’t have any furniture,” said John Michael.
He decided the start an organization called Home Again.
"It’s just a little kick start to get them back on their feet to get a job,” said John Michael.
A year later, not one but two storage units are filled with home furnishings.
"We've had veterans sleeping on the floor before they came to us. It’s good to know they won’t be sleeping on the floor anymore. We give them pots and pans so they won’t go hungry every night. Feels good when you give away furniture and household items," said John Michael.
Gratitude is the rock solid foundation of John Michaels’ relationship with a Summerville man, Teddy.
He keeps a picture of the two of them in his apartment, which was furnished by John Michael’s organization, Home Again.
"He has a big heart for such a young kid. He is going in the right direction and he inspires other people to give,” said Teddy.
Driving the furniture donations are people in his Pine Forest Neighborhood.
“My mom put it on Facebook that we were trying to help. In Pine Forest, people were moving somewhere or had old furniture in their house. We got tons of furniture,” said John Michael.
Lowcountry businesses are also pitching in like Southern Smiles Dentistry.
Left behind in every step he takes, a footprint of simple joy.
“This family was homeless for years and just got back together. We built some bunk beds and got them some mattresses. It was great to see how happy they were to have all this,” said John Michael.
He provides a little light where there was once brokenness.
"When we are driving around Charleston, we see people sitting around just to get change to have dinner for that night. It is sad to see. We know one person can make a difference to help people get back on their feet and get a job and furnish their house," said John Michael.
It’s not just furniture. The coupon ladies make sure every person will have a clean start with unopened cleanings product, personal hygiene products and more. John Michael does the rest.
"Anytime we move someone in we put a basket together with the essentials and food and a handwritten note that says we hope you like your new apartment and I hope this helps you get back on your feet," said John Michael.
What a feat indeed for a 15-year-old impacting lives when they are Home Again.
John Michael has helped 104 families. He works directly with the V.A, 180 Place and Home for Hope and Tri County Family Ministries.
If you want to learn more check out his facebook page @homeagainofthelowcountry.
To nominate someone for a Jefferson Award, click here. The nomination form is at the top of the page.