A teenager from a under privileged neighborhood in Ohio amazingly received acceptance letters from 12 colleges. He credits God, his family and his support group for achieving the first step to his dreams.
Lashawn Samuel grew up surrounded by violence and poverty. “My community, it’s been a struggle, living everyday around gangbangers and thugs,” he said. “You could get killed in a drive-by or just walking down the street.”
The senior at Columbus’ West High School experienced firsthand the danger in his community when he lost a close friend to a shooting. His negative environment took its toll on Lashawn’s mental health. The 19-year-old suffered anxiety and depression. He even wrote an essay about teen suicide and proposed efforts to check in on students’ mental wellness.
But he rose above his circumstances. He regularly joins City Life’s youth groups and services. It’s helped him get closer to God. “God has been my greatest help. And my family and the good support I have had around me,” Lashawn said. “There’s always going to be a challenge or an obstacle that you’re going to have to overcome or grow out of. But as long as you keep true to yourself and have faith and persevere so that you can overcome it, then you will.”
Apparently, City Life is a ministry outreach of Central Ohio Youth for Christ. The Christian organization “connects with at-risk teens in Franklinton to share God’s truth and to equip them with the tools to experience real life change.”
Acceptance to 12 colleges
In addition, Samuel’s accomplishment was also backed by his hard work. For five years, he would pass through his violent neighborhood and walk half a mile to go to the Columbus Metropolitan Library. He would study for hours every day. Brandy Biegler, manager of the Library, witnessed Samuel’s determination.
“He would be there literally every day, Monday through Friday from when we open at 3 and usually when the center closes at 6,” he testified.
Today, Samuel plans to attend Ohio State University on a full-ride scholarship.
Reference: Christian News