#GoodPeopleProject: Homeless to Hopeful

Anthony Ross has a harrowing story that’s hard not to be moved by. I was moved by it when I met him, a young man who’d been homeless since he was 13 and before that, living in poverty with his drug addicted mother. Anthony, despite his difficult upbringing and homelessness told me he had a dream. It was to get out of his cycle of homelessness and poverty and go to college. Together, with taking Anthony on as a mentee, we set out just to make that happen. The following story was captured by a staff writer for the #GoodPeopleProject 

Anthony Ross

Anthony Ross is a dreamer.

Although it may be surprising to learn that, once you know where he came from. Where can one find dreams when all you know is pain, hurt and poverty? And yet Anthony had them. He had them at his darkest moments and in the direst circumstances. Dreams for a better life. For a way out of a cycle that for far too many young black boys leads to death and ruin.

Anthony grew up in Washington, D.C. where he and his older sisters were being raised by their grandmother. But while some grandparents can carry the load, Anthony’s grandmother wasn’t equipped to care for him.

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“Whenever I got in trouble I’d get locked in my room for days without eating,” Anthony said. “I accumulated a lot of diseases from not eating. My grandmother didn’t have the patience.”

Her lack of patience lead to them not having much of a relationship, yet, when she died from heart disease an already rough situation became worse as Anthony and his three older sisters were sent to live with their crack addicted mother in a house with no heat, electricity or running water in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.

Even less fit than their grandmother, their severely addicted mother tried to attack her children with a meat cleaver.

“One night she chased us out of the house with a meat cleaver knife trying to murder us,” Anthony recalled. “The police came and saw she was unfit. She had crack pipes everywhere. The police told us we had to find somewhere to live.”

But somewhere else was hard to come by for Anthony who never knew who his father was. While his sisters went to live with their aunt on their father’s side of the family, Anthony found himself homeless at 13 years old.

“Ultimately, it led me to sleeping at friends’ houses and in homeless shelters,” he said.

For years, Anthony was a nomad, bouncing from unfit home to unfit home, passed around among his mother’s relatives. For a while he stayed with his aunt, but she was under a lot of stress and kicked him out after he had behavior issues at school and she tried to attack him with a frying pan. He went to stay with another aunt and she threw him out after he wouldn’t give her more of the money he earned from mowing lawns on top of the rent he was already paying her to stay there. He ended up in a neighbor’s home, living with 14 other people. At first this family seemed loving, but then Anthony learned they were using his social security to draw welfare in his name, but were not sharing any of the money or food with him. When he questioned them on it, he was beat up and thrown out yet again.

Yet, throughout all this, Anthony stuck with his GED program at the Perry School. He stuck with it even after he ended up in a boy’s group home.

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“From there, I had no family, I needed to make a life and take advantage of the services offered to us,” he said.

Anthony started working at Starbucks and Ruby Tuesdays, finished the GED program at 16, then had to wait two years to take the test because he needed to be 18 to get a GED. He failed the GED the first time, but the second time he took the test, he passed. After that, Anthony set his sights on his dream of self-sufficiency, his dream of a way out.

“I just got my GED, I didn’t want to stay in a homeless shelter,” Anthony said. “I thought, ‘I don’t want this life. I don’t want this lifestyle. I want to make something of myself. I wanted to go to college.’”

And make something of himself he did.

He spent his free time studying, and then entered a summer bridge program at Gallaudet University where for the first time in years he was around his peers – students of his own age in a learning environment. He made the most of his time there to study for the ACTs, using DVDs and YouTube videos to teach himself geometry, algebra, trigonometry and functions. It was while he was in the summer bridge program – and during a moment of doubt where Anthony questioned if he would make it – that he would be introduced to Paul Brunson through an advisor.

“He’d heard about my story and asked if there was one thing he could give me, what could it be?” Anthony said.

They were in a high end restaurant when Paul asked this and at first, jokingly, Anthony responded he wanted a Lamborghini. But he quickly got serious and asked Paul to be his mentor.

“I said I want you take me under your wing,” Anthony said. “He told me to come to this address tomorrow morning. It was somewhere in Arlington, Va. and it was actually his office. He gave me $100 bill off the gate. Told me to get’ yourself some slacks and shirt and a tie’ and I was like I don’t take money from people.”

But Paul insisted and Anthony went on to buy the first pair of slacks, button-up shirt and tie he’d ever owned in his life. From there, the wins kept coming for Anthony through his perseverance. He took the ACTs and was later accepted to Saint Augustine’s College (now university) in North Carolina. Paul drove the college freshman to the school and told Anthony he had the ability to “become the king of this thing,” alluding to the campus. Anthony would spend four-to-six hours a day in the campus library and ended up with a 4.0 GPA his freshman year. By sophomore year he was making friends and branching out. By Anthony’s junior year he was elected student body president on campus and in his senior year he graduated magna cum laude with a 3.7 GPA. His degree was in political science and pre-law.

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Anthony, now working while taking a break from school, is determined to keep dreaming big dreams.

“Ultimate goal is to be president of the United States,” Anthony said. “I’m running for the position regardless if I’m going to lose because of how far I’ve come. Homeless at age 13 to magnum cum laude graduate from college. That’s crazy. That’s ridiculous.

“God has given me everything,” he said. “He’s given me everything. Everything I couldn’t have as a child I got in college. My life kept getting better each year in school.”

Anthony Ross is a dreamer, but how could he not be when his dreams came true.

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Anthony’s story has already touched thousands of people. In the lead up to his graduation he asked friends on Facebook to help him find his siblings in hopes they could be at his graduation ceremony. The post was shared on Facebook and Instagram where more than 100,000 people saw it and passed it around. He didn’t find them in time for his graduation, but he did later, due to the posting, get in contact with his sisters again through a cousin on his grandfather’s side. Separated for years, reconciliation hasn’t been easy, but brother and sisters are slowly progressing.

The overwhelming response to his story led to Anthony writing his autobiography looking back at his from homeless to college graduate story. He’s currently trying to raise money to promote the book through the site GoFundMe. Let’s help Anthony reach his fundraising goal by supporting this amazing young man and his incredible dreams. Then, join #MentorMonday and become someone’s mentor or mentee!  

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About Paul C. Brunson
Mentor, Entrepreneur, & Television Host. My goal is to help you live your best life. I’m the world’s most influential matchmaker, founded and exited three businesses, host two television shows, spent nearly a decade working directly for a billionaire, and share my experiences by mentoring through Knowledge Share

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185 Comments on "#GoodPeopleProject: Homeless to Hopeful"

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Dr Angela Smtih
Guest
Anthony. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I was struck by your absolute determination to become somthing greater than your background. Your growth from adversity is amazing. Not many people ask for what they want to help them recover from their often disruptive backgrounds – you did and that is truly a gift of yours. Your background as I see it is a gift because it has made you who you are. The most resilient people in life are those that have had extreme adversities and grown for them, and that is certainly you. Congratulations on your degree… Read more »
Anthony D. Ross
Guest

No problem!

Be Blessed
Guest

Wow awesome story thanks for sharing. Used to be a foster care case manager if the young people could read this and just grab a hold, they to can achieve their goals. God bless you and congratulations on your achievements and keep striving on your goals. I pray that God will connect you and your sisters together although it will be a slow process it will be done.

Anthony D. Ross
Guest

Thank you!

Awesome
Guest

What an amazing story! This blessed my entire day! I’m glad to be a mentor to a beautiful young lady who also is in an awesome University and beginning to live her dream. God is good! Keep up the great work Paul, you have many more lives to touch! May we all live out our purpose!

Michelle Lynn Thompson
Guest
Michelle Lynn Thompson

We each have to choose to walk alongside a young person and SHOW them the way instead of TELLING them what they need to do with their lives. This is an inspiration and an affirmation of my passion. Affirmations come from many different sources.

Manning
Guest

One word: Amazing!

M Haygood
Guest

This is such an inspiring story. Paul, thank you for living your purpose and sharing it with others. Anthony, congratulations and continued blessings to you.

Ashley Winston
Guest

I love this story! Well done anthony very proud of you. People need to hear this.

Marcia E Brown
Guest

This story is one for the screen! Young man, you are AWESOME!!!! Somebody needed this story so they won’t give up. Prayers and Blessings as you continue to move ahead!!!

Juliann Butler-Green
Guest

Truly amazing! It proves you can do what you set out to do if you stick with it and believe! God Bless!

Una Cleghorn
Guest

Amen

Susan SweetLuv Dawson
Guest
Susan SweetLuv Dawson

Amen,Stay Blessed…

Lisa Lay
Guest

Maybe Oprah will pick his story up

Diary of a First Time Mom
Guest
Diary of a First Time Mom

Just shared with my job–our school district has an AA mentoring program. This would be a great purchase for them!

Reginald Townsend
Guest

I love this.! ( AMEN.! )

Julie Jorge Cortes Fisk
Guest
Julie Jorge Cortes Fisk

AMEN

Sherry Clark
Guest

wow congrats hon

Andre E Smith
Guest

Congrats Anthony!

Dawn White
Guest

I read this article! I love everything about this.

Debbie Devine Harris
Guest

God is amazing.

Latoya Simmons
Guest

yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!! this is AWESOME!!!!! i admire the strength, perserverance, and hard work!

Elnora Hicks
Guest

Very inspirational!!!!!

Philecia McCain
Guest

Kimberly Roseboro

Kaya Ade
Guest

Paul Carrick Brunson, you are an AMAZING person! THANK YOU for walking your talk! Congrats to your mentee!

Sandy Brazzell-Rhett
Guest

But God…………………

Jarvis C. Smith
Guest

Amen.

Jarvis C. Smith
Guest

Amen.

Valerie James
Guest

very nice!

Emily Pierce
Guest

Wow! Anthony is a role model for so many, young men and is living proof that no matter what happens in life you can overcome anything! GOD BLESS Anthony! and All the best in years to come!!!

Latoya Marie Evans
Guest

Congrats

Kesha Latrell
Guest

AWESOME

Rafiq Jamaal Ahmed
Guest

Amazing story

Jamlliah Mency
Guest

Amen

Tab No Worries
Guest

Oh WoW!!! I Luv This!!! We Do Need More Mentors!!!

Gale Pee
Guest

Awesome!

Sharon McElroy
Guest

Wow! He is awesome!

Yesenia Aguirre
Guest

Awesome!

Marie Waqairatu
Guest

Congrats!

Alegna Creates
Guest

It says out of print, limited availability?

Compton Nichelle
Guest

That’s great

carri66
Guest

I will be your like a mother to you. that is so sad the story. I was a foster child also and can see your pain. I suffered a lot also. I believe in you. kid.

carri66
Guest

Prayers for you and your family.

Lisa Lee
Guest

awesome ! wonderful

LaShawnda Howard Flagler
Guest
LaShawnda Howard Flagler

God’s plans are the best plans….you might not like the roads you travel but with Him as your guide you will reach you destination.

Christal Rogers
Guest

That is absolutely phenomenal. These are the stories the news dint want you to read about. Keep succeeding, Love God and disprove every stereotype of black men out there.

Joseph Allen
Guest

Congratulation to BOTH of you, & You for raising support for a worthy cause.

Brandon Robert Williams
Guest
Brandon Robert Williams

Congratulations!!! I love success stories like this

Bonnie Davis
Guest

God is good,Cong,.

Anthony D. Ross
Guest

The book can be purchased here
https://www.createspace.com/4578235

Paul Carrick Brunson
Guest

Alegna Creates new link –> https://www.createspace.com/4578235

Paul Carrick Brunson
Guest

Kimberley Michelle new link –> https://www.createspace.com/4578235

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