CSF Alumni Belinda and Byron grew up in Washington D.C. in neighborhoods where gun violence, poverty and drug use threatened their safety and dreams for a bright future.
Belinda’s mother struggled with drugs and other health problems, so as a teen, Belinda assumed extra responsibilities at home while trying to keep her focus at school. She knew that pursuing higher education would be a path to more security for herself and her family. As a high school sophomore, she began visiting her CSF College Prep Advisor at school to ask questions about preparing for college.
Byron struggled from a lack of role models. At age 13, he would stay out late with older teens looking, as he put it, “for something bad to do.” Byron had a wake-up call in junior high and committed to study harder and pass his classes. He stayed on track until his senior year, when he was expelled. He immediately went to College Success Foundation to confide his mistakes. Instead of learning his path to college had ended, CSF helped him stay away from bad influences and rebuild trust so he could return to high school and get back on track to college.
Today, both Belinda and Byron are college graduates. Byron graduated from Penn State University in 2014 with a communications degree. He works for New Day USA, a lender serving veterans. “Once I got into college, it truly changed my life,” Byron says.
Belinda graduated Bennett College in 2015 and has returned to her community in the District of Columbia to work with students. Belinda echoes his sentiments: “It was the best day of my life when I graduated.”
Check out the video to learn more about these inspiring alumni.