The Home Was a Blessing When I Needed It Most
The following account was written by Christopher Michael Shores, a proud alumnus of Omaha Home for Boys. From 1992 to 1994, Christopher resided at the Home in the Shrine Cottage with house parents Robert and Cathy Cork. Christopher was 16 years old when he voluntarily entered the Home.
I was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri by my mom and stepfather. They got married in 1983 and that is when the abuse, both physical and verbal, began. As the years passed it became worse and worse. By the time I was a freshman at Winnetonka High School, I began to pull away after football and wrestling were over. By sophomore year I was failing almost all of my classes and skipping school half the time. Rebelling against the abuse of my stepfather, I began partying, drinking, running with the wrong crowd, leaving home for days on end and fighting.
Then my Mom found Omaha Home for Boys and pleaded with me to go to Omaha to take a tour and find hope in the only thing she wished for me which was to graduate. My first impression was that I had found peace at last and the tour gave me the one thing missing from my life, hope. There would be no more beatings or humiliation. The weight of the world lifted off my shoulders.
My mom asked me one question after the tour was all said and done. She said, “Is this really what you want?” My answer was an immediate “yes” and two weeks later I was a Shrine Cottage resident and enrolled at Benson High School.
I was so far behind in school that catching up was priority number one. Between summer school and the tutors at the Home, I got caught up really quickly. Being in sports for most of my life, I loved the recreation leagues of basketball and baseball at the Home. Waking up every morning, making my bed, vacuuming, dusting, cleaning some part of the cottage and having breakfast with all of my brothers were things I looked forward to. I cleaned a lot of dishes there when it was my turn for kitchen duty!
It’s surprising how boys from all walks of life can come together, differences aside, and build bonds like family. I loved the trips we would go on, from College World Series baseball games at Rosenblatt Stadium to skiing at Mt. Crescent and even trips to Westroads Mall to spend the little money we made working on the lawn crew.
My senior year came and Mr. Cork told me seniors on campus are the role models for the rest of the boys, especially the younger ones. My grades were good enough so I inquired about being able to play sports at Benson High School. The director of the Home gave me the okay and after three days of tryouts, I made varsity linebacker. Mr. & Mrs. Cork would bring the boys from the Shrine Cottage to my home games and I felt so proud to have my little brothers in the stands to cheer me and my team on.
Wrestling season came and that was another adventure. Winning and placing at tournaments, I pushed on to a one-loss third-place finish at districts and earned a shot at the state wrestling meet. The staff at the Home always taught me to believe in myself and to always strive for better no matter what adversity I was facing.
It was a heartfelt goodbye when I graduated in May of 1994 and went on to serve in the United States Navy as a Gunner’s Mate. Omaha Home for Boys gave me discipline and patience to achieve anything I set my mind to.
Today I have two children, Sierra Marie who is 21 and Sloan who is 15. I love my kids with all my heart. Omaha Home for Boys helped me break the cycle of abuse by counseling me regarding the abuse I had been through. My kids only know love, fairness, discipline, honesty, integrity, loyalty and courtesy, traits I took on after having spent time at the Home and traits I passed on to my kids.
I currently work in logistics as a Dock Lead Supervisor at Star Pipe Products. If it wasn’t for Omaha Home for Boys, I probably would have ended up homeless, an alcoholic or a criminal and probably would have been in and out of prison.
To those who support the Home, I want you to know that your support gives a young man hope and a solid platform for success. It helps erase terrible memories and heals whatever trauma the boys of the Home have suffered and endured. Every child deserves a second chance and for many residents, the Home is their only chance. The world needs more places like Omaha Home for Boys. Each donation allows a boy to dream and grow with a moral compass but most importantly, you are giving each boy something they may never have had before: a family-style atmosphere filled with love.
Twenty-four years later, I still appreciate the life the Home gave me.
Your Gift Helps – Today & Tomorrow!
As you can see from Christopher’s story, your support of Omaha Home for Boys not only helps young men overcome the obstacles they are facing today, but it also helps give them the tools, confidence and hope needed for a successful tomorrow. Please give today!