Malique and his two older siblings became involved at the Dream Center at an early age. Volunteers that knew them more than 10 years ago still ask about them. Malique was in middle school when he first became involved with Empower 225, and would eventually become a leader with the youth. He did not have a father in his life. Their family struggled financially to keep food on the table, and moved frequently. Malique could be described as kind, humble, and very bright. He was the kind that learned from his mistakes and did not let them define him, but looked for ways to overcome.

We celebrated with Malique when he was accepted into Baton Rouge Magnet High School after a “strong interview.” However, considering his life circumstances, he had a problem with truancy and only passed 2 class. Therefore, he was moved to a different local high school. Malique entered the Anchor House in his junior year where he could have the stability, guidance, and structure he needed for his basic needs, education, and future. He worked while in school. During his time at the Anchor House, he was encouraged and helped by so many volunteers and community partners that impacted his life. He was able to go on field trips, spend holidays with host families, and attend professional sporting events with tickets donated by community partners.

The summer before his senior year, we began questioning graduation requirements. We learned he had not retaken the freshman classes. In all he had to make up a total of 6 ó classes to graduate. The school suggested he catch up, then take his senior classes which would postpone his graduation date. Malique made the decision to attempt his senior year classes and simultaneously take the other required classes online. In May of 2019, Malique proudly graduated in front of his mom, aunts, brothers, sisters, and Empower 225 family.

During his senior year an army recruiter encouraged him to take the ASFAB and Physical Aptitude Evaluation. He excelled at both, and as a result was contacted by the Navy and Air Force! He was proud the day he was enlisted and sworn in. He was excited about the financial security, physical challenges, and teamwork that lie ahead, and that he could send money to help his mom. He is currently training as a radar specialist with the US Army stationed in South Korea. He regularly checks in, and is doing great. We are so proud of the young man Malique has become and the future that lies ahead of him.

June 2020

 

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