Jamari Traylor finds a home at KU

January, 15, 2013
1/15/13
9:39
AM CT


LAWRENCE, Kan. -- The window in the back that was always open wouldn't budge, and the key no longer worked in the front door. Jamari Traylor had been kicked out of his home before, but this time his mother was serious.

The anger and angst of a rebellious 15-year-old had become too much.

Traylor couldn't call his father, who was serving a life sentence in prison, and he couldn't stay with his best friend, whose parents had asked Traylor to leave after discovering him asleep on their son's bedroom floor.

With temperatures in the 20s and nowhere to go, Traylor began to walk. Hours passed as he snaked through his neighborhood near 27th and State Street in Chicago's South Side, wearing a baggy, polyester coat with no mittens or earmuffs. It was December of 2008, just before Christmas, and tears welled in Traylor's eyes.

"My fingers and toes were burning," Traylor said. "They felt like they were going to explode. I was literally crying because it hurt so bad. It was the worst feeling in the world.

"I was just so cold."

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