Malik seemed like a typical teenage boy. He complained about high school, was sociable and had many friends, and liked to play sports. He excelled at football.
But Malik was hiding a big secret: his family had lost their home and alternated between sleeping in their car and staying with friends. Like so many families battling homelessness, they kept their circumstances private.
Football was the glue that was holding Malik’s life together, and his talent drew the attention of college athletics departments. He was even offered a scholarship to a school in Tennessee for the following year…but because Malik didn’t currently have a mailing address, he never received the letter.
It was around this time that Malik and his family found Family Promise of Greater Orlando and entered the emergency shelter program. For three months his parents worked with a case manager to obtain employment, build their savings, and find a new home.
Deadlines for the scholarship had come and gone, but when Family Promise learned about it they jumped into action. Family Promise called the school and convinced them to renew their initial offer of a full athletic scholarship. The one caveat: Malik had to report to campus in two days.
Family Promise, Malik, and his family scrambled to prepare him for college life, then packed up the Family Promise van and drove 11 hours to his new school.
Now Malik is playing football for the Lane College Dragons and working toward his degree. Not only is he the first person in his family in four generations to graduate from high school, but he’s also the first-ever to attend college. He and his family credit Family Promise with enabling them to rebuild their lives and allowing Malik to live out a dream he never imagined possible.
On October 25, Family Promise will hosts it’s first National Giving Day. Community members are invited to offer support and hope to local families. For more information and to make a pledge, click here.