Being a teenager is hard enough. So you can only imagine how tough it is for a teenager who works hard to excel in sports, who studies to perform well in school, and who does it all while actually being homeless.
One day in the middle of the school year, Lakel Davis, a junior running back on the Alhambra High School football team, went missing. According to AZCentral, Davis was on his way to breaking football records at his Phoenix, Arizona high school when one day he just didn’t show up.
His coaches and fellow teammates were confused and spent days looking for him. It wasn’t until they finally found him that they understood why he left everything behind.
Davis left Arizona unexpectedly and traveled to Washington to live with his grandmother.
Frank Lautt, Alhambra’s football coach, and the assistant football coaches spent eight days enlisting the help of school officials and the police, along with searching homeless shelters for Davis. They had no idea where one of their star players disappeared to and no one seemed to know why. He had been doing well in every aspect of his school life.
Finally, they found him through Facebook. Davis was living in Washington with his grandmother, where he was playing football for a local high school.
The high school football player had left the state because of “personal issues.”
“I was kind of embarrassed, but I didn’t want everybody to know what I was going through,” Davis told AZCentral.
For two years, he had been couch surfing, living with one teammate and their family before moving on to the next. He originally came from Memphis, Tennessee with an aunt who wanted to escape her home life, but when she returned to Tennessee, Davis wanted to stay in Arizona.
Davis’ parents weren’t in a good situation to take care of him, so he lived with his friends.
The high schooler never told his teammates or coaches the situation he was in, and despite how dire his situation was at times—occassionally he’d go up to three days without food—he always held his head high.
Even though he initially left behind his teammates in Arizona, Davis decided to come back. He received help from a mentor, who also happened to be one of the assistant football coaches.
Davis’ mentor opened up his home to the high schooler.
When Davis arrived back in Arizona, his mentor, Derwin Page, was there to pick him up at the bus station and bring him to his home.
Since Page believed in Davis he was more than happy to give the now high school senior a place to live. And although some may find the living arrangements a little unconventional, Davis thrived. He continued to receive good grades in school and even made the Division III All-State Football team his senior year.
“Football gives me a home. Being in the weight room, working out, it gives me a place to go,” Davis said.
“I’m happy. I feel stable. This where I want to be.”