Snapshot: Charles Bryant
Hometown: Baltimore, MD
Major: Human Services, specializing in Substance Abuse
Education is a luxury that many of us can easily take for granted. It’s easy to become locked into the mentality that once a person surpasses a certain age, education becomes irrelevant or unachievable. For Charles Bryant, completing his education might have seemed like a pipe dream at age fifty, but now his hopes have turned into a reality. Currently enrolled at AACC, Charles is pursuing his associate’s degree in Human Services with plans to eventually earn his bachelors and his masters—and his fifty years aren’t stopping him.
Charles’s journey to AACC was not an easy one. A Baltimore native with a minister for a father, Charles was introduced to drugs at an early age, setting the tone for the next thirty years of his life.
“Growing up in the city, I was exposed to the drug culture,” he explains. “It started to consume a lot of my time. I would cut class and my friends and I would go into the woods and drink wine and get adults to buy alcohol for us. We sniffed glue and really experimented and had fun. But as time went on, it began to become a main focus. It became something I couldn’t walk away from.”
At eleven years old, Charles was arrested for the first time and the following year his parents sent him to reform school. “At first it was shocking and I was scared, remorseful and repentant,” he says, “but, when I got there all my friends were there and then it was like a big summer camp.”
He continues, “So we hung out and it reinforced the direction I was going in. We continued to be mischievous. Everything at that age was seeking out mind altering substances.”
After seven and a half months, Charles left reform school and began high school where he became a member of the basketball team. However, his drug use worsened.
“The basketball team would get together after games and party,” he describes. “That was where I was introduced to heroin and harsher drugs; it was a downward spiral from there.”