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Defying Expectations

CIS of Jacksonville

I am going for my dreams to become a motivational speaker to show kids or adults that there is a purpose in life. If I can do it, there is no longer an excuse as to why they can’t.

My life had a rough start at the age of two years old. My mother and I were living in an apartment when a jealous ex-boyfriend showed up at the door. Demanding to come in, he found a way to open the door and shot my mother twice and then shot me in the head. When the police got there my mother was dead, and I was rushed to the hospital. After all the surgery the doctor said I would never be able to walk or talk ever again and that I would never be a normal child. After some months in the hospital I learned to walk and after a few more months I was talking. Then my grandfather took me home and raised me while my dad was trying to get back on his feet financially.


I was put in CIS in kindergarten where I could be comfortable with a family. That’s what CIS was to me because they helped me thrive in everything I did. As a little boy that urinated himself all the way to second grade, CIS helped me through the hard times. I was told I couldn’t join the football team, and so CIS found me something I loved – playing the violin. Music changed my life as everyone doubted my ability to do most things, yet I shocked people in many occasions. I played the violin even with the disability with my right hand. CIS helped make a brace for me so I could play with less struggle and most importantly make me feel normal. But it was never enough. The help of CIS got me to LaVilla School of the Arts. That’s when I lost hope in myself to succeed because I wasn’t with CIS through middle school. I wanted to commit suicide at the time, but I pushed through.


When I made it to high school, I went three years unaware there was a CIS program at the school. But when I found it and signed up to be a CIS member again, I was a thousand times happier because the program helped me meet new friends, and I had a family again for my senior year. I’m very glad I did because I always felt welcomed and had someone to go to if I was struggling. But now all of that is over as I did the unthinkable and graduated high school at the right time and passed all my classes. I am living with my dad and trying to find a job to earn money for my family and to help pay the bills. But most importantly I am going for my dreams to become a motivational speaker to show kids or adults that there is a purpose in life. If I can do it, there is no longer an excuse as to why they can’t.

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