Beating the Odds

Randy - Gretna, Louisiana
Entered on April 16, 2009

I am one of 14 children raised in the city of Marrero, minutes outside of New Orleans. My family was quite different from most families in that none of my 13 siblings finished high school or entered college. I grew up in a poverty-stricken neighborhood, where I witness criminal and drug activity daily. I also witnessed many of my friends dropping out of school. I was an ambitious kid with a dreams and aspirations, though I lacked discipline and guidance.

When I was 13 years old, my mother became ill, and my father was unable to be a responsible parent. I started to be rebellious, and I stopped attending school. Soon after, I was taken into state custody along with a few other siblings. I remained in state custody until the age of 18.

Being in state custody exposed me to other options in life, such as education, family values, and positive relations with others. This experience caused me to conform to rules as well as develop a sense of structure and stability for my life. Having never been exposed to high expectations, it was very difficult as a young child to conform. While in foster care, I was made to go to school, complete my homework assignments, keep my area clean and neat, as well as maintain a positive attitude.

After leaving state custody, several of my siblings were incarcerated; they choose a life of crime, violence, and drugs. I on the other hand had chosen to accept life challenges. Despite the many circumstances, I was face with as a child and in setting what seemed to be unobtainable goals. I believed that every person is given a fair chance in life, it is what we do what those chances that counts. It was time for me to step out on faith and focus on my future.

I have since obtained my GED, and am now enrolled in a community college in my city, in hopes to attend a four-year university. I believe with hard work, courage, and the acceptance of your realities you can overcome any obstacles life brings. I believe when faced with odds, we are expected to fail. However, with faith, hope, and determination, we are sure to succeed.