BRICK — Two teenagers who have struggled for years with homelessness are getting a new shot at a better life, thanks to tens of thousands of dollars in donations and help from two Brick Township High School football coaches.Brothers Patrick, 19, and Tyler Giesler, 18, have moved between apartments and hotels for years, but when their grandmother, Theresa Burke, died last month, the teens' only support system disappeared, said their former football coach, Len Zdanowicz.
Patrick and Tyler Giesler faced homelessness after their grandmother died, but two Brick Township football coaches and a caring community are helping. Amanda Oglesby | Wochit, Asbury Park Press
In the wake of their grandmother's death, Zdanowicz, known as "Coach Z," and fellow football coach Scott Lloyd launched a GoFundMe page to help the Gieslers. They never anticipated what happened afterward, Zdanowicz said."Maybe we could raise $5- or $10,000 to get them settled into a down payment, (and) furniture, for an apartment," Zdanowicz recalled thinking. "Then all the sudden, everything took over. It’s gotten a lot bigger than that."By Monday, the GoFundMe page had raised more than $59,000 for the brothers. Local businesses and families had also set the brothers up with an apartment, new furniture and even worked to fix their minivan, Zdanowicz said.The fundraiser was first reported in Patch."For these two, there’s just nobody there," he said. "There's nobody to help them."Patrick and Tyler were abandoned by their biological mother and were told their father died when they were young, Zdanowicz said. Raised by their grandmother, they called her "mom," according to the GoFundMe page. They lived with her and their great-grandmother in a home on Mantoloking Road until 2012, when superstorm Sandy destroyed the structure and their belongings, the coach said.Business: Sports dome under construction in Jackson
The brothers graduated high school in 2018 and started classes at Ocean County College last fall, Zdanowicz said.What they need now is help, he said. Patrick and Tyler do not yet have any credit, so Zdanowicz said he is helping to get the young men cell phones and internet access. They need internet for their college classes, he said. Zdanowicz said he's thrilled about the tremendous support from the community.“We’ve done things in the past to help our families here in Brick," he said. "Everybody always comes out in full force to help anybody in need.”To help, visit their GoFundMe page here.
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