This one wrecked me. I was crossing a street in Salt Lake City and saw Sergei. I asked him if he would like some socks. He responded “I don’t have any money”, which was the […]


This one wrecked me. I was crossing a street in Salt Lake City and saw Sergei. I asked him if he would like some socks. He responded “I don’t have any money”, which was the first sign Sergei was new to the streets. I just didn’t know how new.

Today is Sergei’s 18th birthday. Today is also his first night homeless.

Many of you have asked for more details. I am sorry but I became emotional and didn’t get much information. Too me, just the look on his face was enough to feel his pain and get some understanding.

Many of you also asked how you can help. Please support homeless youth organizations like Safe Place.

I have worked with homeless youth before in Hollywood, but this was my first time with This year’s road trip I will be going out with a few homeless youth outreach teams. It’s an important story that needs to be told. I just am not sure I am ready. Today my heart was broken.

Please support Safe Place, Covenant House, and similar organizations helping troubled youth. PLEASE!

Today is Sergei's 18th birthday. Today is also his first night homeless. Click To Tweet

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  • I seen most of the videos in here, i always follow the stories but this video was the more touching. You can see in his face that he doesn't have any idea where he is going or what he is going to do, he look lost, sad.

  • Mark, you aren't alone. My heart hurts for him as well. I can only wish Sergei the best in his journey to find his family in California. Hope he can find help in SLC to point him in the right direction and that he can stay safe. Hurts worse than when I was in the hospital 11 years ago.

  • Mambo.Val

    Um. Why didn't you link him to any services? There must be some organization in Salt Lake City that could assist him. Traveler's Aid. Youth Hostel. Social service orgs. Church groups. I don't get it.

  • you have a good point

    I honestly wish I did more. I was caught off guard. turning 18 and being kicked out of home i cannot imagine.

    I did help him all I could at the time. trust me on that!

    But I should have done more, at least that is what I started to think after he walked away

    when working with hurting people you must build trust first. that takes time. In hindsight I should have given him the number to Safe Place hot line, or something similar.

    Next time I will be better prepared. trust me on that, too

  • I agree. His face tells the story. thanks for supporting

  • Zasd

    DO you know where he is now? I really think it would have been nice to take him some place nice and then raise some money to get him to CA.

  • Zasd

    I agree with Mamno Val. Its great you took the video but now what? What if I want to help him? He is truly invisible now.

  • Rjob50

    One call to a local bishop of the LDS church and that boy would be well taken care of. Don't beat yourself up too much, though, for not knowing.

  • Hunternicholas22

    where is this interview taking place? did he say anything about where he would be over the next couple days or anything? Any other info?

  • I just woke up and found this on twitter, this is heartbreaking especially when he talked about his dad.
    It's incredible that there's not much I can say

  • jval2009

    don't beat yourself up Mark I know you wanted to do more in hindsight. But he does know there are people out there who do care. I know he will get back to California.

  • Pingback: Sergei: 18th Birthday And Homeless | The Plantation Nation()

  • Sadly, we don't know the back story. He talked of being in the wilderness. How long had he been away from home? He didn't get to Salt Lake City from his house in a single day on foot. It appears to me he's now “homeless” because Mom won't let him live there any more – and he's clueless where he'll spend the night. How long ago did his dad die? How did his mother and sisters cope with that? So many questions…I'd love 15 minutes with he and his mom to find out what happened. We can only let our imaginations fill in the blanks as we create our own version of Sergei's story. It's compelling, that's for sure.

  • Drkfairysoul

    Devan Glissmeyer, Brad Reedy and Jody St. Joseph:

    …I came across this video today at InvisiblePeople.TV, a website that provides a platform for homeless human beings to be heard.

    As you saw, Sergei said he just left your program and is alone with no money, no place to temporarily stay and wants to get back to California where family members, including his sisters and other than his mom, are living.

    I had to write to you to ask to please somehow follow up with this young man.
    I know nothing of his situation other than the little info from the video, so I am not passing judgement on you or any of your staff. I just PLEASE ask that you try to reach Sergei, perhaps by cell phone if he has one and you have his number.
    How is it that he left there on his own without resources for his next step? Where is his transition and aftercare assistance?
    I know that I am not alone in my heart breaking for and my mind worrying about this young man, so please, anything you can do to try to reach him and help him get to California safely would be deeply appreciated by all who have seen this video of Sergei.

    Thank you.

    Lisa B.

  • Drkfairysoul

    Mark and all:

    The post below was an email I just sent to Second Nature, the place Sergei said he had just come from…

  • Shawnee

    I am saying a prayer for Sergei. I hope next year his birthday will be a true celebration!

  • Shawnee

    Lisa, God bless you for writing that letter!

  • Drkfairysoul

    Thank you, Shawnee, but the thanks belongs to Mark for filming and Sergei himself! Just that small bit of but very specific info Sergei gave enabled me to do a web search and find contact info. I just posted the email I sent because I know I wasn't alone in my concern for him. You and so many others care, too.
    I have not heard back from anyone yet, but my heart is hoping so much that they can somehow reach him and help him that it feels like it's going to burst. If I do hear from anyone, I will post an update.
    Take Care, Shawnee 🙂

  • Drkfairysoul

    Long overdue update: Immediately after this video was posted back in July, I wrote to two directors at SN at both their work emails and on Facebook.
    They did not reply? to my emails and they blocked me on Facebook?!
    I did not attack them in any way, only asked that they please try to contact/reach/follow-up with Sergei if they could.
    NOW, I am attacking them~they should be ashamed of? themselves!
    If anything happens/ed to Sergei, they are partly responsible. They should have heavy hearts but that is unlikely as you need a conscience for that.
    Still hoping Sergie made it safely home to the family members that he loves.

  • Drkfairysoul

    My final email to SN:

    To (the three directors):
    Below are the three emails I sent to you back in July.
    I hope deeply that you were able to reach, talk with and help Sergei.
    I am aware of the confidentiality involved which is why I simply asked for notification that you received my email. That would have given some comfort and peace of mind to me and the hundreds of others who were concerned? for Sergei and his well-being.
    My initial email was in no way judgemental, but the fact that you? did not have the decency to reply in any way, other than to block me on Facebook after I wrote to you there, speaks volumes about your professionalism.
    Your hearts must have been in the right place at one time to have gone into this field of work, but your apparent apathy towards this young man seems to indicate that your humanity has been lost along the way and needs to be recaptured.

    Very disheartened,

    Lisa B.

  • Cheri

    rjob, that is not true. I was an active member of the LDS church while living in Colorado and trying to go to school WITH A CHILD. I was fortunate enough to have temporary shelter that I found on my own but when my car was repossessed due to non payment, I turned to my church. Without my car i could not get my daughter to day care nor my self to school. The Bishop chose not to help me. From that day on, LDS was no longer my church.

  • Hi Mark,My name is Trung Nguyen, and I live in Indiana. Yesterday I watched this YouTube you posted on Jul 23, 2010 about a
    homeless kid named Sergei, who was abandoned in Salt Lake City by his mother
    and became homeless on his 18th birthday.

    His situation actually broke my heart so deeply that I feel
    a strong urge to find as much info as possible to help him as much as I can. It
    was sad that you could not provide any info about his
    whereabouts or how to find him. I have contacted a few sources in Salt Lake City to help look for Sergei, and I also sent you a private email with my contact email address and phone number in case you can have info about Sergei’s situation or know anything that I can do to help him.It has been 1 year since you posted this video, and I just wish with all my heart that Sergei could find help from somewhere or someone so that he could be in better shape now. God knows I really want to and will help Sergei get back to California, I can buy him ticket and food and many more… within my capabilities… So please, and I’m saying this a thousand times, please help me find any info about him, especially about his whereabouts.Thanks much for all your help,Trung

  • SavingwithSaveOne

    I wonder if he has any family that can help him.

  • He said he just came of of “Second Nature”. It is a Wilderness therapy program for troubled youth. The fact that he is on his own at 18 is probably because his mom is no longer legally required to do anything for her son and stopped paying. Pretty pitiful if you ask me.

  • Pingback: Increase of Schizophrenia in Homeless Youth: Interview with a Youth Therapist | Invisible People()

  • Audrey

    have you any news on sergei?

  • anjealka

    I saw this story and I was so happy it was posted. I moved to Utah and was SHOCKED about these boot camps and programs started here and what happens to kids. I live in southern Utah, where WWASP started. WWASP is a network of programs and schools, most in Utah but a few out of the country and in other states, in which parents sign away guardenship of their kids to these programs. The rules are incredibly strict and unless you are a certain level at age 18, you are let go with nothing just like this young man, get a bus ticket to a random city or if very lucky get sent right to college. There are so many people like this young man in Utah today 7 years later in need of help, dumped out by these programs. I see it weekly but our city just opened its first homeless shelter and it only has 60 places, and there were so many families that had priority over 18 year olds. Our city has only 1, yes 1 apartment complex and it is so expensive and very low wages, yet at least 15 of the camps and programs surround my city (a city of over 100k so not small, just crazy housing crisis for all on top of these boot camp like programs).
    If you research the WWASP programs a bunch were shut down for horrible cruel acts. There are survivor stories that would break your hearts. There are groups trying hard not only to get the programs to shut down or comply but another shocker…some of the upper level WWASP staff that got their programs closed down TEACH IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS in Utah. I have sat face to face , as my kids were assigned to one of these teachers, who would openly tell stories in class about the torture used on these kids. All I could do is get my kids switched out because the schools and state are protecting these people who own the camps. I know there is an advocate group that calls my school district everyday an files a compliant for over 5 years and nothing has been done.
    If anyone cares about these programs and what they do, reseaerch online WWASP programs and there will be groups that are trying to help the kids. They aren’t even asking for money. they just want people to write or call to help.
    Also if you know anyone thinking of sending their troubled teen to Utah or a WWASP program, beg them to check it out carefully.

  • anjealka

    NOT TRUE, the LDS is very big on protecting these camps and programs in Utah. My husband is LDS, served a mission so I don’t hate the LDS but the program this young man was in, there are many in Utah and some have been closed down for cruelty but many survive and are big moneymakers, they main chain was started my a group of upper ups in the LDS church and they are untouchable even when charges are filed. There was a kid , same story kicked out at 18 and came to my city and lucky found some work and a room with some other kids. He got into college in AZ, full scholarship but had no way to get to AZ and his minimum wage didn’t allow him to save anything. I talked to my neighbor, who is our bishop and he said he could not help. Our family got him a way to AZ and he is now a Junior in college and doing great. LDS church does help, but it is usually with food only these days. In our Utah city 1 out of 18 school age kids are homeless.

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