MPW.65 / Trenton Vernon’s World by Sam Wilson
Photographer
Sam Wilson Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Team Mac

Recipient of the Howard Chapnick Award
Story Summary

Vernon Foster, 18, says that it was his fault that his biological family kicked him out of their homes. Now estranged from his family, he sleeps in a restroom stall in Trenton, Missouri, and has entered his own world. He says he suffers from a host of behavior and psychological disorders, including ADD, ODD, IED and bipolar disorder.

Vernon keeps all his belongings in a backpack, bouncing from McDonald’s to friends’ houses to his restroom, always somewhere to wander with nowhere to go. He says the endless adventure is exciting but he regrets burning his bridges with his family. He relies heavily on community members for food and clothing, and he’s replaced his mom with several different mother figures around Trenton and Missouri. Friends become sisters, brothers, aunts or uncles. By surrounding himself with these people, Vernon has begun to create a new family that is as fluid as his existence.