Charles never finished high school and went through life accruing petty arrests and different types of drugs charges. “My life wasn’t going anywhere but I was getting older,” he says. “I couldn’t stop doing what I was doing. I had a bad drug problem.”
Charles was arrested again but this time was introduced to a recovery program. “For the first time I realized there were a lot of same people with the same problems.” He also realized that his faith that he once had as a child, needed to be revisited.
“My father was a minister and at a young age he used to take me to church,” he says. “I think because of his praying and because I was introduced to God at a young age, that although I didn’t live according to him, he watched over me. I dedicate my life to him now because at the time when people couldn’t understand me or didn’t want anything to do with me, God still loved me and comforted me and delivered me out of that world. He loved me like no one else could and I can only think of living my life now for the one who really cares for me.”
Charles moved from Baltimore to the Arnold area in 2005 and started to seriously think about his education. He enrolled at AACC after a thirty-year educational hiatus.
“I love AACC,” he says, “and I don’t say that flippantly. I was terrified and intimidated. I had a lot of fears that made me feel inadequate. I compared myself with other students and didn’t see where I fit. But I was truly blessed to have professors who really saw something in me and encouraged me. In times I wanted to give up, they sat with me and saw that I had potential. That was so important to me. That changed my attitude and I began to work hard to believe I could accomplish the goal of getting an associate’s degree. If it wasn’t for that support, I would have quit.”
He naturally gravitated to study Human Services with a specialty in substance abuse because of his personal experiences. “It’s nothing I’m proud of,” he says. “But it’s not something I hide from because I know God brought me through that. I’m not the same person that I was. I can share freely with that confidence and hopes that God will use it in some way.” kr
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