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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — With graduation approaching, high school seniors are working on their final projects. A Wilmington girl’s project hits close to home… or her lack thereof.

“It’s not what you wear or what you eat or where you live, it’s about how you act about the situation that you’re in,” Angela Giacoman said.

Giacoman’s situation is very different than many of her classmates at Mosely Performance Learning Center. She’s been homeless on and off for the last five years, because of a host of family problems. Her current address is the Salvation Army.

Giacoman decided to focus her senior project on improving the services already in place for homeless students. The McKinney-Vento Act is a federal law that provides funding for the homeless. Giacoman says while it does help, she thinks more can be done for teens like her.

“They don’t have ways to stay after school or resources to pay for projects or things like that,” Giacoman said. “I really want it to change, so that it says that they get better equal education opportunities.”

New Hanover County Schools social worker Amy Hand said many resources are available, but communication is lacking.

“I think where we could improve is on the identification of these families and making sure that the people that need these services are getting them,” Hand said.

Hand said the McKinney-Vento Act serves more than 650 students in the county. She said many more are likely ashamed to come forward, but Giacoman said the key is to ignore negative people. Her advice is never give up.

“Don’t drop out of school. Don’t. Don’t drop out of school,” Giacoman said. “I am 19 years old, and I’m graduating in 13 days. Had I dropped out of school, I would be homeless, and I wouldn’t have a job. Then I really wouldn’t know what to do.”

Giacoman says she plans to enroll in Cape Fear Community College’s Marine Technology program after graduation. She is excited about getting a job and getting into a more stable lifestyle.

Comment on this Story

  • Angela Giacoman

    I would just like to say that I did stay at coastal horizons youth shelter at the age of 14 and I had a great expirence at this shelter. and about your other comment I was never in the system my mom was with me but she choose to put things over me. I call DSS on my mom hoping to get out of my situation but they never did anything.

  • Angela Giacoman

    IM NOT DOING THIS FOR ME IM DOING IT FOR HOMELESS TEENS and yes i do have access to the internet at the salvation army they have 3 computers.
    I have stayed with a very many people but I havent had a boyfriend in about a year and never dated someone who stole anything from me, so quit trying to ruin the steps that one person taking in their life to better someone else’s

  • Guest6969696969

    I know of this young *Ladie* personally..
    My Family & extended Family has “TRIED” to help her, providing, room/board/asking only in return, go to school & get a Job.
    WE, yes WE, provided transportation…

    She has “issues” concerning Boyfriends whom dabble in; let’s say unsavory activities, and VERY, unsuitable Family enviroments, (eg: Family members) whom would & will STEAL from her..
    I commend Her on “trying” to do the Right thing.. NOW…
    If ONLY She DID THE RIGHT THING When She stayed with OUR Family….
    If She wants to “Do this On Her Own w/out Help” more power to her…
    Notice, she’s got a computer & internet connection to reply with?
    Make your own judgements…

  • Grand Ole Party

    We have made our own judgements. She has made mistakes, and is now trying to do better for herself. No need to dwell on the past. I would say based on your very original and mature user name you are not exactly batting a thousand yourself. If you are thirteen years of age or below, please disregard this post.

  • Guest1234

    Good for this young woman. Best wishes to her. She has more problems than the woman who couldn’t pay her rent but she isn’t crying about it !


    I did a report in school and found out that there are grants and etc . These or shold I say some of these shelters recieve money to help the homeless with many things. Buut it is not being used for that. Where is it going can someone please tell me . I understand they say lack of communication but this should open the eyes in the big office right? Let’s see if it happens!!!!

  • Angela Giacoman

    Dont call anyone most people dont realize when you give your money to an organization you really dont know where its going if you would like to help give your time to people that you know are homeless in your community.

  • elizabeth

    This is such a sad story but i do comment this young lady who has her goals set, has kept her chin up and making the best out of a bad situation. Does anyone who where i could call to give some help to these people?

  • Angela Giacoman

    I have had an unstable living environment for many years and I did mess up in school and that was my fault but I stuck it out and stayed in school instead of dropping out.The little girl in the video is my best friends daughter. THIS IS NOT A VIDEO ABOUT ME I AM TRYING TO GET BETTER ACADEMIC RESOURCES FOR HOMELESS TEENAGERS. *I am not yelling*

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday

    Why is she only now graduating high school, though she’s nineteen?

    More importantly, who is the child that suddenly and magically appears at the end of the video with absolutely no explanation?

    Is there more to this story than we are being told?

  • Das Weibstück

    She has been homeless…. maybe she lost a year when she was younger. Obviously had a rough upbringing. The child may be hers, who cares? Just be glad she is trying to be a productive citizen Common. I know you appreciate that.

  • stm

    She’s been homeless off and on for 5 years and all you can say is why didn’t she do it sooner? It’s ignorance like yours that keeps more people like her from graduating at all. You go girl. I think you’re a fantastic role model.

  • StefMediratta

    she *might* not be graduating because we have all sorts of rules and regulations (with good intentions) that automatically fail students when they miss a certain number of days without a medical excuse. I can see how if your family is transient you might end up in temporary places without a way to get to school through no fault of your own. Also, after you do miss a significant time in school, it’s really difficult to catch up. School can be hard enough without having to live through such a demoralizing situation.

    Congrats on finishing school to the young lady and for having a goal for her future!

  • GuestMan

    You’re just a real classy guy and your comment shows it.

  • Guest2264

    Way to go girl, you keep up that positive attitude, it will take you far! I wish you the best of luck, and you seem to be a real inspiration to others as well! You’ll enjoy CFCC, I know I did!

  • For any Cape Fear area youth and families who are struggling with homelessness:
    Please also be aware that Open House Emergency Youth Shelter & Residential Services of Coastal Horizons Center, Inc. provides 24/7 access to a 9-bed, co-gender, safe shelter, which provides for basic needs, support & case management, and individual & family clinical services for runaway, homeless, street and/or thrownaway youth, ages 6-18! Our philosophy is to provide a “NO YOUTH TURNED AWAY” environment, to ensure the support and meet needs to assist homeless youth to STAY IN SCHOOL and successfully transition into young adulthood.

    CALL US 24/7 for more information: 800-672-2903 OR 910-392-7408


  • Guestquestioning

    Thank you for putting out the Open House information Amy! I was an intern there years ago and I have seen first-hand what a wonderful organization this is and how vital it is to the community. This young girl would have been easily helped by being referred to Open House (before she aged out of the system). For those looking to donate to those in need, please donate wisely. You can donate directly to this organization with either money or personal care items and know that these are being used right there at the shelter.

    Great work Angela, I hope you continue on to CFCC and find a stable environment, you are on the right path!!

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday

    I find it refreshing that you answered the questions without throwing a hissy-fit as another poster did. (How DARE we ask questions!) I’m sure you understand why I asked about the missing year and your playing with the unexplained toddler at the end of the video. Had the closing shot been you getting into the driver’s seat of a Porsche, I would have asked questions too.

    Getting set back a year is a relatively minor experience over a lifetime. I’m sure you’ll do fine and Das is correct: As a taxpayer, I can assure you that your landing a job and building a more stable life will certainly make me happy, too.

  • Grand Ole Party

    Job well done Angela. We all make mistakes. Glad to see you make the best out life. Good luck in the future.

  • Guestwho

    Please don’t take any negative comments on here to heart. What you are doing is very noble and you should be very proud. I’m proud to have someone like you in our community. Best of luck.

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday

    Thank you for your reply. Perhaps, if we’re lucky, WWAY will post the reply I submitted yesterday. (?)


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