Jacksonville Teen Starts Foundation For LGBTQ+ Youth Following Personal Struggle

Mar 11, 2019

Being a homeless teenager wasn't going to stop First Coast High School student Seth Owen from achieving his dreams.

On February 11, two-thirds of the way through his senior year, Owen said he left his parents’ home for his own well-being.

Owen, who is gay, was put in an uncomfortable situation when his sexuality came to light after his father went through his son’s phone.

Related: Listen to the full interview with Owen on First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross

Bouncing around from couch to couch in his last six months of high school didn’t stop him from making it into one of the top 35 schools in the country.

With a 4.61 GPA and an acceptance letter from Georgetown University, it seemed like the co-valedictorian’s dream would soon become a reality.

His financial aid package was determined based on the expected contribution of his family.

But his family gave him an ultimatum: follow the family’s beliefs, as taught by their church, or leave.

He opted to leave. His teachers quickly jumped in to help. They created a GoFundMe page with a $20,000 goal to help pay for his first year of college tuition.

Six weeks and more than 750 donations later, the fundraising page surpassed $50,000. The GoFundMe page has surpassed any of their expectations reaching a whopping $141,000.

On First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross on Monday, with guest host Charles Griggs, the Georgetown University freshman talked about his mission to provide other students the same community support he found after sharing his story publicly.

Owen’s Unbroken Horizons Scholarship Foundation will be awarding three scholarships this summer to students facing challenges. He’s also launching a website for all students.

Owen said he hopes his story inspires others to talk more openly and honestly about the adversity they’re facing.

“A lot of students might not have those close personal relationships with their faculty at their school. Our foundation is aiming to provide online resources for students so we can point them in the right direction,” said Owen.

Samantha Kindler can be reached at newsteam@wjct.org, 904-358-6317 or on Twitter at @kindlersamantha.

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