Family Promise resident earns his GED

Jan. 20, 2013 @ 05:02 AM

At 15, Anthony Mitchell was kicked out of his Zebulon home, dropped out of high school and became one of North Carolina’s homeless children.

“I tried to stay with my biological mother, but she was involved with drugs and drug trafficking and I didn’t want to be in that situation,” the now 20-year-old Mitchell said Friday.

“I’d move from house to house and carried my clothes with me,” Mitchell said. “I’d leave for work and that would keep me busy during the day. If I couldn’t find some place to stay, I’d sleep in my car.”After moving to Sanford last year and joining the Family Promise of Lee County network, Mitchell received his adult high school diploma Thursday and is set to begin classes at Chowan University Monday in hopes of obtaining a degree in business management.

“I am excited, but it’s a change so I am anxious,” he said. “But I am ready. I have to do better to help them by bettering myself.”

Family Promise of Lee County, a local nonprofit, provides shelter, meals and hospitality to homeless families with children through a network of community churches and congregations and the organization accepted Mitchell’s stepmother and sisters into their program.

Mitchell moved to Sanford last year to stay with his stepmother and two sisters, but it wasn’t a month until the family was evicted and homeless again.

“She was struggling to pay the bills,” Mitchell said. “Eventually she got evicted after I had moved in and then we joined Family Promise.”

He was dedicated to his schooling and to his family, said Family Promise Director Fredrika Cooke.

“It was a wonderful experience meeting Anthony,” she said. “He was a motivated person with a positive outlook. And was able to overcome being homeless, complete his GED and he’s not going to stop with that. He applied himself and was accepted into Chowan.”

While the semester has already began at Chowan, the university administrators and officials made an exception and allowed Mitchell to join the spring semester.

“I think it was a wonderful thing,” Cooke said. “He interacted with positive resources and I think if he continues with the mindset and motivation that I observed in him, I think he will be very successful.”

Despite being homeless and dropping out of high school, Mitchell said he went out of his way to learn new things while at work and on the streets.

“I felt like I should have never dropped out of school,” he said. “I felt like I’ve achieved something because I love to learn. Everyday I want to learn something new. To get my adult high school diploma and come to Chowan is a blessing.”

Mitchell said if it wasn’t for Cooke and former Family Promise Director Julie Miller, he wouldn’t have made it as far has he had.

“To me, Sanford has a community that works together,” Mitchell said. “We sleep in churches and that community came together to help people in need. Everyone should check out those amazing churches.”