Michael Ferrara has always looked up to the military, the teen student at Hunterdon Central Regional High School with family members who’ve served has helped restart the Student Soldier Support Club at his school and also wants to join up one day.
“My freshman year, I emailed the teacher that runs the club and he said all the seniors left; there’s nobody in the club,” he said. “So I restarted it. I think it’s awesome that people are out there fighting for everybody’s freedom.”
In 2020, he highlighted the plight of homeless veterans and even started a fundraiser to raise money for Houses for Warriors, a program to get veterans off the streets and into a shelter. He wanted to raise a few thousand dollars for the home which he planned to commemorate with a few bricks at the location that was donated to the veterans on behalf of his own family.
“If we hit my current goal of $4,000, I’m going to dedicate three of the four bricks to two of my grandparents and my uncle,” he said in October. “My uncle was in the Marines, my one grandfather on my dad’s side was in the Navy, and my other grandfather on my mom’s side is in the Army.”
Andrew Canales, the CEO of Houses for Warriors and an Iraq War veteran, is thankful for the young man’s interest. “If I had 100 more people like Michael today, we would have that building tomorrow,” Canales said.
He said that shelters were problematic for veterans due to “constant open drug use, higher encounters with violent and aggressive individuals with severe mental health issues, the constant risk of theft and their personal property being stolen” so a place just for them, where they could enjoy safety comfort and vocational training was the idea.
That idea came with a hefty price tag and Ferrara was excited to help out with it. He wanted to raise money through donations he earned by participating in running marathons. He made up his mind to run the Marine Corps Marathon in October and hold various fundraisers.
Join us in applauding Michael Ferrara, a high school student from New Jersey, who recently raised $12,000 for Houses for Warriors, a Colorado-based nonprofit helping homeless veterans.
Meanwhile, the New Jersey teen wasn’t bothered by the fact that the house he was helping pay for would be in Denver. “I decided to raise money for a Colorado nonprofit living in New Jersey because a homeless veteran is a homeless veteran,” Ferrara said.
“Our veterans have fought for all 50 states, not just one. So, I feel it would be wrong of me to not raise money for homeless veterans just because they happen to live in a different state,” he added. “I picked out Houses for Warriors because it’s sad that these veterans give up everything,” he said. “So I’m trying to help out any way I can to make that right.”
Ferrara has in total raised $12,000 to donate to a home that will house up to nine veterans. Donors are being informed on the progress via a Facebook page set up for the occasion called “Mike Ferrara’s fundraiser for Houses For Warriors.”
“Fundraiser Update!” reads a post from Ray Ferrara on July 11. “Mike and I visited Denver, Colorado this weekend to attend the grand opening of Houses for Warriors’ very first Veterans group home! Your $12,000 in donations were the key to making this happen.”
“Mike was also recognized for his efforts. 9 homeless veterans will be in their new home in the next few weeks. If you look at the bricks, several were created for the installation at the house recognizing all of you that made this happen. And if you’d like to help furnish it, click the Amazon registry link below. Thank you all!”
This is an amazing accomplishment by the dedicated teen who has always had the welfare of the veterans in his heart. “I’ve always looked up to our veterans, the people that have served our country, because they’re out there every single day, they’re going to put their lives on the line,” Ferrara said.
“I have a great respect for the people who are willing to and have sacrificed everything to serve our country and to keep America free.”