02.25.2015

Anthony’s Story

By Anthony, Treehouse Student

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Growing up in South Seattle, I seen and done a lot. For most young black males in Seattle, there is no hope in life for them so they turned to the streets. When I was 11 years old I only wanted to be loved and I couldn’t get that love from my mother. So I turned to the next best thing—the streets.

black backpack

By the time I was in 6th grade, I was bad. I robbed people, pretty much everything. I needed to be loved but my mother couldn’t love me because she was too busy doing drugs. Being in a gang, I lost a lot of homies, cousins, and close friends. I lost so many friends that when another passes away, I don’t even cry. When I was 13 years old I got caught up for robbing a dude on the bus. The judge sentenced me to 103-129 weeks in a juvenile detention center. I broke down in the courtroom. I’ve been to jail like three times but I’ve never gone for so long so I was just a little scared.

Being incarcerated for 2 years changed my mindset. It made me miss the small things in life like playing with my little sisters and watching TV. Pretty much everything that we take for granted was on the outs. When I moved to a foster home after I was released, I didn’t have to look over my shoulder and worry about my safety.  I just focus my mind on school. That’s when I really started getting my credits. My family encouraged me to keep moving forward.

When I look back at my life I have come a long way. I’m not that same lost little boy that I used to be. I feel more like a man every day, and I thank God for that because with all the stuff that I been through I never would have thought that I would have ten credits and be on my way to graduating. Not too many people make it out of the hood, but that has been my dream ever since I was three years old.

Every day I wake up I think to myself like “Damn, I’m still really alive because I’ve been in so many situations where I should’ve been dead.” My only problem that I have now is deciding which college to go to because honestly I never thought college was an option for me. I never even thought that I would graduate from high school. It all just doesn’t seem real to me. My dreams for the future is to give back to my city. I hope that I can be able to help out the young youth in Seattle.

A note from Anthony’s Treehouse Education Specialist, Amy Brownson:

“Anthony has been totally engaged and determined in meeting his goal of graduating. He has even been waking up in the middle of the night dreaming about the moment he’ll walk across the stage and be handed his diploma. He can’t wait to see his grandma cry tears of joy as Anthony will be one of the few in his family to graduate from high school. His greatest accomplishments this year have been passing all of his classes and adjusting to a new school. Together, we have been researching colleges and scholarships, signed him up for weekly counseling to address possible barriers to graduation and to map out his credits so that he can graduate on-time. Anthony was even asked to participate in the College Bound Advocacy Day in Olympia to testify to legislators to keep scholarships for college bound youth. He shared his story and bravely advocated for youth across the state who, like him, need scholarships and grants to support their post-secondary education.

Anthony never ceases to amaze me with his positive outlook, wisdom, and strength, academically and personally. He uses all of his life’s experiences to positively move him forward. He is determined to work as hard as it takes to meet the high standards he sets for himself. He has knocked down every barrier placed in front of him with a smile on his face. I have no doubt that I will get to watch him walk across the stage next year to collect the diploma that he earned.”

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About the Author

Anthony is one of the 600+ youth in the Treehouse Graduation Success program preparing to graduate from high school and pursue their dreams.


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