The recipient of the Wells Fargo Scholarship, William is 23 years old and studying to be a social worker.
“I was born and raised here in Hampton Roads. I serve as the First Gentlemen at Progressive Christian Fellowship where my life long partner Ronald White is the senior pastor. Church is the special part of my life. Our church is an open and affirming organization. Furthermore, I serve as the Secretary and as the Outreach Coordinator for the ministry. In this capacity, I have spearheaded a number of community service efforts aimed at helping persons who identify as gay, lesbian, transgender, or struggling. To help you gain a little perspective regarding my passion requires the knowledge that, around age eight, my family (to include me, my mom, and my two siblings) became homeless. For several months, we would be shifted from shelter to shelter until a local agency stepped in and helped rebuild my family by providing us a safe and stable environment.
“With the memories of my own misfortune, I recently read that in New York most of those who are homeless and who are suffering from similar hardships are members of the LGBTQ community. After seeing those statistics, remembering my own situation, and reading and recalling the narratives of LGBT youth who turn to prostitution and in some cases get abused or end up addicted to drugs, my desire to go to school for Social Work was firmly-grounded. Although my situation was not as a result of me being gay, I know what it means to be gay, isolated, rejected, homeless, and helpless. I have an idea idea of creating a group home that will provide career counseling, food, HIV/STD prevention education, emergency shelter, and whatever else is needed. Although it may be a while before I can truly make this dream a reality, I have currently started fund-raising efforts for my dream by soliciting loose change through my church. I truly believe we will all fall short; nevertheless, we should always strive to be the helping hand and smiling face to someone else. Let’s allow love to unite.”