CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Randall couldn't wait to turn 18.
As soon as his birthday came, he dropped out of school and left home with only $312 in his pocket. He wanted to make a life of his own, with plans of finding a job and a place to live that he could call his own.
The first few weeks of his new independence, he felt great. He stayed with friends. He did whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted.
But soon, he was out of money and out of options. He was unprepared. He was scared.
But when he tried to return home, the bridges he had burned leading up to his 18th birthday prevented him from being welcomed back.
In a panic, on his way to apply for a job, he heard a commercial on the radio about New Connections, and scratched down the phone number.
New Connections, an extension of Charleston's Daymark organization, offers a variety of support groups for struggling youths, including job-readiness training and an independent living program.
Before he knew it, he had access to an on-site apartment, counseling that offered daily living and life skills and someone offering to help him re-enroll in school or obtain his GED.