This is one of a series of stories about the nonprofit agencies that receive money from The Gazette/El Pomar Foundation Empty Stocking campaign that runs through the holidays.
A journey from an orphanage in Ukraine to Colorado Springs has been a tough road for 20-year-old Sergey.
But a bed, assistance with getting off drugs, and new friends at Urban Peak may be just the thing for helping him move his life forward.
According to its website, Urban Peak helps youth who are homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless, overcome challenges by providing crucial services and a safe community so they can become self-reliant adults.
Sergey, whose last name is not being used to protect his privacy, moved from an orphanage in Ukraine to Colorado Springs in 2007 when he was adopted. He and his adoptive family never got along, though, and he moved in with a friend's family during his senior year of high school.
"They pretty much took me in to be a part of their family to finish senior year," he said.
But he started getting into trouble, and they essentially kicked him out so that he would go and find help. He got in trouble with the law because of drugs and ended up in jail in July.
His friend's family invited him back, but Sergey knew he had to fix his problems and couldn't accept the offer.
"I was kind of living outside."
At the end of this summer, he decided that he couldn't keep getting into trouble. He had started probation and was looking for a place to stay when he learned about Urban Peak.
The first time he visited he was sleeping in a parking garage, but there were no beds open. Three days later, a bed opened up.
"I like it here," he said. "I'm not moving out."
Urban Peak has helped Sergey create plans to get back on his feet. Taking one step at a time, he'll deal with his legal issues and get a job. Right now, he enjoys helping to cook at Urban Peak from time to time.
He plans to go back to school in January and hopes to study engineering and art.
He said that Urban Peak is friendly and is keeping him out of the cold. It also is providing him with the basics, such as food and clothes.
"I didn't have any clothes when I came here and now I have a bunch of clothes here," he said. "I can wear different clothes every day."