Part Three of The Return Home
Fortunately there was a great counselor at our school, Mr. Stevens, who helped me get into college and got me a small scholarship. That was one of the best things that had ever happened to me. Now I had a chance at a better life. I promised myself that I would make good of the opportunity, and I did.
My cousin and I talked quite often back then about what we would do once we finished college. We had developed our own philosophy about how we would impact our community. Over the four and a half years I spent at East Texas State University, I would tell everyone I knew that I would one day move back to my old neighborhood. When they learned where I was from they would ask "why?" My answered was simple, “I want to make a difference”.
College afforded me the opportunity to collect myself. Every time I would go home to visit I would see the pride in my grandmother’s eyes. What I had come to realize is this: if you are going to make an impact on your community you have to be there, in order to make your presence felt. I believed then and still believe that I have to be visible.
Growing up in my neighborhood I didn’t have doctors, or councilmen, or business owners living around me everyday. I didn’t have people that I could necessarily look up to in my community. I felt that if I moved back to my neighborhood kids could see what success is from within their own community. They could have an everyday example of a person who takes pride in their neighborhood, in their property, and pride in himself. The thing I learned most is that if you want to make a change it has to start with you.