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Against All Odds

“You mean I can start college on Monday?” A smile quickly gathered on Kyrone’s* face as he raced over to get his picture taken for his school ID.

If you had met this kid six months ago, two weeks ago, or even 30 minutes prior, you would know you were witnessing a miracle.

He stood in front of the camera and posed. A few feet away stood, André Rousseau, Street2Street’s Program Manager, tears filling his eyes. Kyrone, André remembered, was in front of a very different camera just six months earlier.

Mugshot. In reality, it was no fault of his own.Wrong time, wrong place, wrong people.

André stood waiting for him, proud of this kid, who he is, how far he had come. Two weeks earlier Kyrone had called, wanting to change his path and asking for help. André listened as Kyrone explained what he’s been doing, getting into, why he wants to change.

“Have you ever thought about college?” André asked. Kyrone’s eyes lit up. “No one in my family has ever been to college. I could be the first one.”

The timing wasn’t right, honestly. Deadlines had already passed. Enrollments had been filled. Scholarships awarded. School Administrators are not keen on accommodating latecomers. Still, André was going to pull out all the stops for Kyrone.

A rush of applications, paperwork and financial aid consumed their days. Now they were in the Financial Advisor’s office hoping against all odds there was a way for Kyrone to start school.

“Who are you?” The conversation took a detour as André explained their connection through Street2Street.

“I’m simply here for moral support,” he said.

“Street2Street?! My brother grew up playing Street2Street in Paterson! I absolutely love what you’re doing in our neighborhoods.”

She continued sharing the impact it has had, not only on her brother, but on their entire community.

“Yes,” she said.“You can start school on Monday. Welcome to college.”

Until they all Play, Belong, and Matter.

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