We met Raymond about 24 hours after his daughter was born. He had just come from the hospital for his initial meeting with us. He applied to our Family Connections Program months earlier, knowing that he and his wife, Althea, needed childcare if they were to keep working toward their degrees.
We said, “let’s reschedule”, but his response was, “this meeting can’t wait.”
Raymond had some time before he needed to be back home with his new little family. So we met with him and he was accepted into the Family Connections Program on the spot. He and his wife were laser-focused on earning their college degrees. The childcare assistance would help them stay the course.
Like many of our students, the road to college is not linear. Twists and turns, blockades and barriers make getting ahead even more challenging.
Raymond remembers his first, life-changing action after he was released from prison.
“I spent the first few years of my adult life in prison…my release date came, and I had nobody waiting to pick me up at the gate, so the guards drove me down to the Everett bus station. I had nothing to my name except the grey Monroe Correctional Facility sweatsuit I was wearing, and a paper bag with my housing voucher paperwork in it. I walked straight to Everett Community College from that bus station.”
Now, finishing up an associate degree at Everett Community College, his academic efforts have turned his life around and created stability for his family. He looks forward to transferring to the University of Washington to earn his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering this fall. His wife is planning on continuing her education, too. We look forward to supporting this mom and dad through their graduation days.
UPDATE: Raymond was this year’s commencement speaker at Everett Community College. In his graduation speech, he reflects on his past and gives us a look at his future. Raymond will be attending the University of Washington this fall on a full scholarship! ⠀
Below is a gratitude video from Raymond and Althea.