I have known him since he was an 11th grader. He was my student and played basketball for me. He was a great basketball player but shines even brighter in the classroom. He received salutatorian honors graduating with a 3.85 GPA. He comes from an extremely poor family living in the heart of North Philly. His father was disabled and his mother hadn’t lived with he or his siblings for some time. Because of the limited support from his parents, he needed my help to get him to East Stroudsburg on scholarship and to provide support through his first year. It was his first experience outside of Philadelphia. He did well in his first year at college. However, soon after his first semester of his second year he was forced to return home. His mother did not complete her portion of the FAFSA, so he did not receive his promised financial aid. He was not allowed to return to school unless he paid $10,000 for the portion of his tuition that his financial aid would have normally covered. He was not discouraged. He returned home, got a job and got on a payment plan to pay back the $10,000 himself
A few months after being home, he was on his porch with his brother and friends when neighborhood gang members walked by and started shooting. The gang came for his’ best friend. 40 bullets were fired, striking and killing him. He held his best friend in his arms as he died.
Less than a month later, his younger brother found their father dead in their home. He died from a stroke, the second one that year. His mother who had been absent for some time did not want to take care of his younger brother, sister and an older disabled brother. He stepped up. He filed for custody of his 15 year old sister and has become her legal guardian. He is now a parent to her and his 18 year old brother who is still in high school. At 20 years old, he is now, head of household, providing for his two brothers and younger sister while paying back his debt to school so that he can fulfill his dream of a college education.
He is the most amazing young man I have ever met. He is a good student with a good heart, who has never lost faith that he could make a better life for himself and his family. Throughout all the tragedy and financial hardship of the last few months he has never questioned paying $400 dollars a month back to East Stroudsberg. He isn’t willing to give up on finishing college no matter how much or how long it will take. He wants to return to school and major in accounting. He has refused to let his circumstances define him.
He is too proud to ask for help and does not have access to people who could help him. So I am reaching out to you. I have been blessed in my life, not only to have never experienced what he has dealt with,and to have had people that supported me when I needed it. It would be wrong if I didn’t use that privilege to try and support someone who is more deserving than I ever could be.
With the help of many people, he and his family are moving into a new house in Mt. Airy this week (August, 20th). He has no furniture whatsoever. He and his siblings did not even have beds in their previous home. His family of four were rotating sleep schedules on an air mattresses. If you have furniture you don’t want anymore that is in good condition please let me know. I have a short list of things they need below.
Lastly and perhaps most importantly any amount you could donate towards his $10,000 school bill would help ease a huge burden and help move this young man closer to the college education that could transform his life and his family’s.