Davion Only, 15, gets some last-minute help with his tie from his case worker Connie Going before nervously making his speech before the congregation
By Louise Boyle
A 15-year-old orphan, who has been bounced around the foster care system his entire life, stood in front of a church congregation last month and made a simple plea - for someone to be his family.
Davion Navar Henry Only nervously stood before worshippers at Florida's St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church and said: 'My name is Davion and I've been in foster care since I was born... I know God hasn't given up on me. So I'm not giving up either.
'I'll take anyone. Old or young, dad or mom, black, white, purple. I don't care. And I would be really appreciative. The best I could be.'
Davion Navar Henry Only told worshippers at Florida's St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church
Davion spoke quietly in front of the full pews wearing an over-sized, donated suit that had come from his latest foster home.
The boy was born while his mother was in jail and has spent his entire childhood in countless foster homes.
It was his idea to approach the St Petersburg church to find his own adoptive parents and take control of his future. In three years time when he turns 18, he is aware that he will be on his own.
He told his caseworker Connie Going that he knows his adoptive parents are out there somewhere.
In June, Davion had come to terms with the death of his mother after he used his birth certificate to search for her for the first time.
He found her mugshot from her arrests for petty theft and cocaine. And then he found her obituary.
La-Dwina Ilene 'Big Dust' McCloud had died aged 55 in Clearwater, Florida just weeks before.
The 15-year-old had spent the past few years at Carlton Manor residential group home in Eckerd, living with 12 other teenage boys, all suffering their own problems.
Looking for a family: 15-year-old Davion spoke to the church congregation about how badly he wanted a family to care about him
He longs to play football but has no one to take him to practice; to be able to use the bathroom without someone unlocking a door. He would like the light left on when he sleeps.
Davion's portrait is one of many in the Heart Gallery - an organization which helps children in foster care find moms and dads.
However, the teenager has had behavioral problems - struggling with his own anger at the circumstances in which he finds himself.
Dealing with his mother's death has led Davion to believe that he doesn't want to be angry anymore - he wants to discover a better life.
Davion Only, 15, left, to spend some quality time talking one-on-one with his mentor, Richard Prince, 22. He is hoping to find a family after a lifetime in foster care
He has spent the summer studying hard in 10th grade - achieving As in all but one subject - geometry. He has lost 40lb and tries to let go of his anger.
Davion also has support from his mentor Richard Prince, 22. The two got paired up through the One Church One Child program and usually go to a park to play basketball or talk.
Floyd Watkins, program manager at Davion's group home, told Naplesnews: ''He's come a long way. He's starting to put himself out there, which is hard when you've been rejected so many times.'
The newspaper reported that as of this week, two couples had made inquiries about Davion but he is still in the foster care system.
For more information about the teenager or the other foster children in the area, call Eckerd (866) 233-0790.