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Detroit – In the most recent issue of its newsletter, Winter 2015, Dominican Literacy Center shines the light on the success of one of its students, Terrance. In spite of his rough life, Terrance is now immersed in church, school, physical therapy, and helping to raise his son.
By Georgia Graham
If you spend a few minutes talking with Terrance, one word may come to mind – inspirational! Terrance’s words, his work in the community, and his commitment to God are truly an inspiration.
Life changed radically for Terrance a few years ago when he experienced two hugely challenging events – he lost his mother and he was shot six times in a gang-related attack. Terrance has been in a wheelchair ever since the shooting. He’s working hard to gain movement and he’s now able to stand up.
And he’s working even harder to change the image of himself that he’s carried around since he was a boy.
For years, Terrance was labeled a slow learner who was not smart enough. The special education classes in which he was placed didn’t help him, and he eventually dropped out of school. Believing the labels that were placed on him, he took to the streets because he felt most comfortable there.
After the shooting, church became a major part of Terrance’s life. Through his church, he’s learning to be a better person, the best that he can be, by helping other people. Terrance is involved with a peer support group at Detroit Medical Center, where he visits wheelchair-bound men like himself who are having trouble coping with their situations. He’s also a participant in Pioneers for Peace and speaks at schools about gang violence prevention. And he just completed a workshop at the BOMB (Bringing Our Men Back) Squad, where he’s learning forgiveness and what it means to be a real man.
A few months ago, Terrance googled “GED programs” and discovered the Dominican Literacy Center. He wants to get his diploma, and eventually a business degree, to continue to give back to his community.
Now 26 years old, Terrance is immersed in church, school, physical therapy, public speaking, and helping to raise his young son. Although he’s had a rough past, he knows he has a good heart and is starting to see a great future in being there for others. He knows how easy it is to lose yourself in the streets. As he says, “You have to find yourself while you can still be found.” Inspirational!