Michael Williams grew up in the South Bronx.
Intelligent, driven, and inspired by his family, Michael pursued his dream of becoming a lawyer from an early age. He joined the debate team in high school, a program that afforded Michael opportunities other kids in his neighborhood simply did not have access to.
Michael recounts his experience growing up in an economically disadvantaged neighborhood. He describes the lack of resources available to young adults pursuing college. “I wish we had more opportunities to allow kids [in these neighborhoods] some agency in deciding their own futures.”
Michael, now earning his Masters degree in Urban Policy Analysis and Management at The New School, is a successful young professional living in Brooklyn.
Nicole Edmonds was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York.
Nicole drew her inspiration to achieve economic self-sustainability from her surroundings. She credited her sister who graduated high school – the first in her family to do so – as inspiration to earn her own diploma. Nicole turned the barriers in her neighborhood into challenges. Repeated exposure to other people’s substance abuse, for example, motivated her to succeed in school. Encouraged by her teachers, who offered guidance and support, Nicole is now enrolled in Brooklyn College. She is pursuing a specialization in Special Education and Psychology.
Today, Nicole Edmonds is a Teaching Assistant at the Association to Benefit Children. She lives and works in Brooklyn.
Crista Carter, native Californian, discusses her journey to and through college. She talks about how college is the gateway to new life experience, and one of the most important stepping stones to achieving a purpose-driven life. Crista speaks to overcoming the barriers of applying to college. Now attending a graduate school based in New York City, Crista has travelled all over the world through the pursuit of academia, and describes the self-discovery these opportunities provide.