By: Rick Blangiardi
Our homeless situation is beyond tragic, but last week, reporter Jim Mendoza and photographer Tine Howard produced a story of hope, the story of Victoria Cuba.
Victoria is 17 years old and attends Waipahu high school. She is lives in the back of a pickup truck. And her brother, who also attends Waipahu high, and her mother, who is unemployed, live in two other abandoned cars.
Prior to that, they all used to live in a Matson container at a junk yard.
Rather than feel sorry for herself, the high school senior has excelled at school. She's found a knack for writing and filmmaking and carries a b-plus average even though she cannot study after it gets dark out because she has no light in the vehicle.
But Victoria's is a story of hope because she has a smile on her face and is determined to excel. She works as a school cafeteria cashier to make a few dollars to help her family.
She asks that nobody stereotype the homeless because people have no idea what brought them to that point.
We are hopeful that in bringing you this emotional story, we can do something for Victoria and her family and others like her who are faced with this situation.
Hers is not an isolated instance. She and her brother are two of 2,465 homeless students statewide and something must be done about this tragedy to make this right.