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30 Hours On The Road to Clark Atlanta University...

One determined student refuses to be a young African American male statistic. Read his story, as he earns his 30 hours of service, needed for graduation and why it means so much to him to really work for every volunteer hour.

Hello, my name is Terrion Darnell Brown-Harvey. I was born and raised on the south-side of Chicago in the Auburn Gresham Community. Growing up in this community has had its pros and cons. I was raised by a single grandmother after losing my mother to lupus at the age of one. Gun-violence, drugs, and peer pressure have all been obstacles constantly jumping in my path to prevent me from success. But through all of this, I have grown up to be a responsible, respectful, and intelligent young man.

I moved to the community at the age of five. When I was about seven years old, I transferred from Clissold Elementary School in the Morgan Park community to Foster Park Elementary School on 85th and Wood, in Auburn Gresham. I attended Foster Park from third grade until 8th grade graduation. These years in elementary school made me the person I am today. During that time I gained many friends who I, still to this day, associate with. My friends influenced me to not be so shy of a person and they introduced me to many sports that I currently participate in.

Even though my friends and I had a great deal of fun times together, I lost many friends, too.  Many of my close friends and I currently attend Ralph Ellison Charter High School, which is also in Auburn-Gresham. When people told me high school would be a big shift in my life, I didn’t believe it until things started to change. At the beginning of my freshman year, my friend, Patrick Sykes who I grew up with, was murdered two blocks away from my elementary school. He had moved to California after graduation and had just come back to Chicago to visit and see his older brother off on prom night. Three years later on February 20, 2016 his older brother was murdered, at the exact spot he was murdered. One of my closest friends dropped out of high school his freshman year, I think because of his addiction to marijuana. These dreadful events gave me a front row seat to what it feels like growing up on the mean streets of Chicago.

To keep myself off the streets and to stay engaged in doing something positive, I chose to join the basketball team at Ralph Ellison. Basketball has done more than just teach me how to shoot a ball in a hoop. Basketball taught me discipline, self-control, teamwork, leadership, and most importantly friendship. My grandmother always told me, “keep people around who want to have the same goals as I do.” Basketball kept me around a good crowd and who I know will be future successful people. Even after the season, I push myself to do my best in the classroom maintaining a 3.4 grade point average (GPA), achieving a 24 on the ACT, and ranked No. 7 in my class. I am a part of the National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS) and was a part of Schuler Scholar Program for three years. I am currently a senior and received a full-ride scholarship to Clark Atlanta University.

Terrion learning the front desk process at the Greater Aburn-Gresham Development Corporation

There was only one thing stopping me, on my road to Clark Atlanta and that was finishing my service learning hours, before graduation. Thanks to one phone call and great community organization, the Greater Auburn-Gresham Development Corporation (GADC), I was able to volunteer in the office, at the Auburn Gresham Free Tax Site and to help prepare and support a community campaign, called Your Voice Matters. I am extremely grateful, to Ms. Linda Johnson, Ms. Cheryl Brown, Ms. Norma Sanders and Ms. Nicole Wheatly for their commitment to help me and to ensure I earned every volunteer hour!

Terrion's grandmother who raised him right, happily picks him up from community service after she got off work.

At Clark Atlanta, I plan on studying computer science and earning my bachelor's degree. My mother was not able to finish college because of her illness; so I plan on finishing for her and making her and my grandmother proud. I REFUSE to become another African American statistic!

Keywords: Chicago Public School, community, gadc, graduating, Greater Auburn-Gresham Development Corporation, Support, volunteer

Posted in Community Highlights, Education Initiatives