The pandemic impacted the global economy and the personal lives of so many, including Michael Jeffery, who lost his job and then his home during the tumultuous period. However, with the help of the Goodwill Excel Center, Jeffery emerged from tent living to valedictorian as he turned his life around.
The former Waffle House employee faced new hardships as he slept in a tent under a bridge in the Navy Yard neighborhood of Washington, D.C. As reported by NBC 4 Washington, the transition was extremely difficult for Jeffery, who felt “stuck” in the situation and would not “wish this on anybody.”
He expressed that others like him are not asking for “pity” but to be afforded the chance to better themselves.
“We don’t want pity. A lot of people in this situation is just like me. We want better; we want more.”
Despite his circumstances, the D.C. resident never gave up on his aspirations, taking advantage of the opportunity to receive his high school diploma at the Goodwill Excel Center.
The center is a free high school for adults to complete their education, thus making themselves eligible to pursue even higher education.
With the program’s help, Jeffery could finish his studies, all while still living in a tent. He did so well that he was announced as valedictorian of his class for a successful school year.
While housed in his new apartment, the high school graduate will become a college freshman at Catholic University for the upcoming fall semester. His new dream is to attend law school, as he has registered as a legal studies major.
“Who would’ve thought that I would be studying legal studies, right,” exclaimed Jeffery.
“There was no hope in this tent, but I found it, so you see how far I’ve came and how far I will get.”
Jeffery hopes to be one of many success stories for initiatives that provide opportunities for those facing hardship and is grateful to the center for believing in him.
“A lot of people don’t get that second chance, and Goodwill allowed that second chance for me, and I appreciate that,” he said.
Source: Black Enterprise