John Michael Stagliano
John Michael Stagliano, 16, of Summerville, South Carolina, a sophomore at the Lincoln, Nebraska-based online school University of Nebraska High School, collected more than $70,000 worth of donated household goods in order to furnish homes for hundreds of people transitioning out of homelessness, including more than 100 veterans. When John Michael was 12, he started making weekly meals for men at a local homeless shelter. “I was happy when they were finally able to secure a home, but when I learned that they were moving out of the shelter with nothing more than clothing, I became concerned,” he said. “How would this new situation be better than the shelter?”
Believing that everyone deserves a comfortable place to live, John Michael started “Home Again” in late 2016 with the idea of turning houses into homes for homeless people getting back on their feet. His first task was furnishing a home for three men. He called everyone he knew for donations of furniture, appliances, kitchenware and linens and, with help from his parents, loaded up a truck; within two days, he had fully furnished the house. Soon others began asking for his help, including the Veteran’s Administration, which wanted him to furnish homes for veterans. Donations piled up so dramatically that John Michael needed two storage units to accommodate the goods, so a Realtor hosted a drawing and a restaurant organized a fundraiser to pay the annual rent. John Michael said he will keep going, despite some health challenges he faced this past year. “My issues are small compared to a veteran with no home or a single mom living in a car with her kids,” he said.