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Featured Student – Michael Gaulden

Ever since I can remember, I have been a slave of the world. I have been whipped and punished every time a glimmer of light shone through my horizons. Why? Because from June 1998 through July 2009, my family was oppressed by homelessness.

I’ve slept next to the people that you see aimlessly wandering the city and I’ve ate beside the same people you see sleeping on the sidewalk. Yet when I see those people now, I see myself. We were laughed at together. We were persecuted together. We cried together. These tears were my constrained ambition leaking through my eyes.

Mine eyes have seen freedom deprived as childhood friends have been gunned down, both my father and my grandfather were sentenced to life in prison, and my great grandfather was violently murdered. They call us “at risk” youth and with each generation the “risk” becomes even greater. But where does the risk stop? It stops with me.

I’ve slept next to the people that you see aimlessly wandering the city and I’ve ate beside the same people you see sleeping on the sidewalk. Yet when I see those people now, I see myself.

In fact, as my family traveled across the United States along our own underground railroad, I have discovered that seeking higher education is my Harriet Tubman. I have stayed at her side by always keeping my overall GPA above a 3.0 and interning at the Monarch School and the San Diego Workforce Partnership.

These experiences have been essential for me to learn how to become an entrepreneur and one day help the battle to abolish homelessness. While it may be true that I was born “at risk” under extreme bondage with homelessness as my oppressor, I am determined to march to college this fall as a free man.

Michael Gaulden
Reality Changers Class of 2010

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