"I tell my son not to worry about the bills because that’s Mami and Papi's responsibility. [I tell him] his only responsibility is school. He always talks about how he wants to be an archaeologist...he loves nature and he can pronounce the name of any dinosaur that you can think of! I get so happy when I hear about his goals because he is only 10 years old. I wasn’t able to spend as much time with him when he was growing up because I was always working. But now when I get a day off - after I catch up on sleep, I try to spend every minute with him.
"One night, my son went to a party with his friends just to have some fun. Everyone went in one car and they were all drinking - including the person that was driving. The driver crashed into another car and my son along with 2 others died on the spot... He was only 21 years old. He went to school for business at Montgomery College. He had a big future ahead of him. After he died, everything changed. I am working to support my 17-year-old daughter. She’s thinking about going to California for college. Honestly, I don’t want her to go away from home but I have no choice.
"Do you want to know my age? I am 65 years old! I shock a lot of people when I say that. I have no high blood pressure, no diabetes - nothing! I try to be active and watch what I eat so I've had good health. Cancer took away 3 of my siblings and my mom also passed away but thank God I still have my dad. He is 92 years old! He is also very healthy and he still drives. I always go back home to North Carolina to see him because he’s been a good dad to me growing up. He raised me to be responsible and told me that I should always keep the Lord close to me.
“One of my co-workers passed away a few years ago. The day that she passed away was one of the saddest days of my life. I know they say time heals all wounds but it still hurts. We worked together for about 10 years. If you knew her, you would’ve loved her! She liked to party, she knew how to have fun and she enjoyed her life. When we found out that she passed away, no one wanted to believe it.. I couldn't believe it. She had multiple aneurisms in her brain which lead to her death.
“Sometimes we have a lot of plans in life and things happen…My mom was a diabetic throughout [her] life. She had 16 siblings growing up - they all died from diabetes. I also lost my father when I was 9 years old.. After my mom’s death, I had to grow up quickly and be a strong woman for my family. I was unable to finish my 4 year degree because I had to be self-sufficient and focus on helping my 4 sisters. I remember [my mom] telling me to do the right things in life and you will make it. I think I am finally at a point in life where I am happy!
"One time, 2 students bought coffee for us while we were working during the snow storm. That really showed their appreciation and it touched me... It really did... And its not the big things that count you know, it’s even the little things! Even a simple thank you is appreciated. And I get that a lot around here, especially from the student athletes! I see many of them at 5:30 - 6:00 in the morning. Everybody calls me mom! I respect them and they respect me. And once there’s mutual respect, everything else will follow."
“When I first came to America in 1996, I came with a chip on my shoulder. I’m here for a reason – for a better opportunity and a better education. My hardship that I dealt with growing up in Jamaica has made all the more hungry to succeed here in America. Only God knows where I would’ve been - if I was back home. In my area, not a lot of people make it past a certain point.
"I came to the United States about 14 years ago from Ghana, Africa. By the grace of God, I entered this university and I learned something from the students. Before I can’t speak english proper, even some of the letters - I can’t sound it, the kids helped me a lot. ..In 2010, by the grace of God, I went to [take] the [Citizenship] test and I passed!
"One time I was taking out the trash in New North, and I saw three girls walking towards Healy Hall. Two of the girls were carrying the other 1 in the middle – I could tell that she was severely intoxicated.
"I noticed that there were 3 boys following them from a distance and they were walking real slow. They were acting really suspicious and I could tell that they didn't go here. So when the girls walked by me, I called them over and had them sit next with me for a few minutes.
"I cherish my wife and the life we had together. 5 years ago, she died of breast cancer. My entire life changed.. Everything went down hill. There was no support anywhere. I had to quit my job and start all over. Now I work close to 50 hours a week to pay for my daughters tuition."