Charlottesville students are preparing to go back to school next week, and that includes one student who is homeless and starting his senior year off at Charlottesville High School.
His outstanding record in sports and his positive attitude are helping him and his family get back on their feet, and possibly get a new home just in time for the school year.
Leon Straus is a beast on the field, the court and in the classroom. If you watched him play, or ran into him in the halls at school, you'd never know Straus was homeless.
"What y'all call homeless we don't call homeless because we still had a roof over our head," Straus said.
His family currently lives at the Sleep Inn in Charlottesville. He's starting his senior year at CHS. But wherever Straus is, sports are his refuge.
"You would never know anything was going on with his home life, CHS football coach Chris Johnson said. "He's laughing, he's joking, he's working hard."
"So I just started excelling in sports and it's been making it easier for me ‘cause people been noticing me and trying to help my family," Straus said.
Recruiters from major colleges are now calling.
"UVA, JMU, Virginia Tech, University of Maryland," Straus said.
He could be the first of his parents and three older siblings to go to college.
"He has a family that's sticking by him 100 percent," Straus' father Leon Sr. said.
Community members have joined with people from the Haven to help out. Straus' family may soon be able to move into a new home in Charlottesville with rent assistance from the "Rapid Re-Housing Program."
"I started doing sports and it changed my whole family's life. It made it easier," Straus said.
The plans for Straus' family's new home are expected to be finalized next Friday, right around the first day of school. He should be able to move in right before school starts on Wednesday, August 21.
His first game is a home game scheduled for Friday, August 30 at 7:30 p.m. against Eastern View High School.
If you'd like to help Leon's family, contact his mentor Carl Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.