The Unwavering Love of a Mom


When 46-year-old Hollie Grable couldn’t locate her son, Hayden, she had no idea that she would be in a fight for his freedom. And it all began last year on the evening of
Thanksgiving. Hollie’s mom had just travelled from their hometown Atlanta the night before to help prepare the holiday meal. When her 16-year-old son didn’t arrive home in time for dinner, Hollie began calling his phone. But he never picked up. That’s when Hollie learned that her son, who urged her to move to NYC where he would feel safer as a newly openly gay teen and to pursue his literary dreams, had shoplifted a felony amount of products from a retail store.

“I don’t think these kids realize the severity of what they do. Mom and I were shocked. That’s how we spent Thanksgiving— in and out of jail in the middle of the night,” Hollie said.

This was Hayden’s first time in trouble with the law. Because he was a minor, the journey to ensuring the best outcome rested on his mom’s shoulders. To further complicate the severity of the situation, Hayden attempted to take his life because their living situation with his aunt, Hollie’s twin sister, proved to be detrimental to his mental state. This meant that Hollie was faced with her son’s pending court case and finding a new home —all while Hayden was in the hospital for treatment. During Hayden’s intake process, Hollie was given numbers for resources that could help.

“He handed me Tyisha’s number and I called. It has been a huge bond ever since,” she said.

Tyisha Jackson, a Good Shepherd parent coach supervisor for court-involved youth, is a fierce advocate who has had to fight for her own son’s freedom. With compassion, Tyisha has been by their side every step of the way to help navigate the legal and
shelter systems.

“I was scared to death because I never been through that before. Tyisha met me in the morning, held my hand and walked me to the shelter. She has been guiding me since then. She has become a solid friend to the family,” Hollie said.

Living in a relatively clean and safe family shelter is only a pit stop for the Grable family. While Hayden is beginning to realize the impact of having a felony, he continues to do the work necessary to close his case and strengthen his mental fortitude.

“Good Shepherd programs and Tyisha have been huge for our family and our network. My son says Tyisha is the only adult that he trusts and that he loves her,” Hollie shared.

Hollie remains hopeful about her family’s future as she saves money from her bartending jobs to afford a permanent home. She believes Hayden will reach his goal of being a best-selling author one day.

Read our other winter newsletter stories

A Dream Grows in Brooklyn

A Major Stepping Stone