By Andre L. Wilson,
Student at CSU East Bay and Hearst/CSU Trustees’ Scholar
I was on a dark path–a homeless high school dropout addicted to alcohol and drugs. I fought through those bleak days until I could find my footing on the road to recovery. Recovery wasn’t easy, it required faith and perseverance along with the strength, aid, love and comfort of others.
Along the path to better myself I saw a billboard that read, “Education can transform your life.” How true that is. The message inspired me to get back to school, starting with an associate’s degree from Berkeley City College. I’m now a student at CSU East Bay, who understands that education is the means to freedom–economically and socially.
Education is also a means to serve and better the conditions of those around you. For eleven years now, my wife and I have participated in a Midnight Ministry. To people on the edge of desperation, we bring food, clothing, comfort and the tools to get out of the vicious cycle of homelessness. We are not always successful in getting people out of bad situations, but one or two lives changed makes it all worth it.
My CSU degree has been instrumental in serving the homeless. As a human development major with a focus in gerontology, I have been able to identify services to get people (especially the elderly) off of the street. My wife plans to go to a CSU next year to pursue becoming a licensed clinical social worker.
I have met so many of my fellow CSU and community college students who bring the attitude that, “we can’t fix everything, but we will do everything we can.” In fact, I call on my fellow students to reply to this blog and tell us about your service, and how others can get involved in building better communities.