Homeless to Howard: Game Changer

Our cause appears to be reaching a tipping point: in just 100 hours or so, we’ve raised over $10,000 for James’s education.  VICTORY IS NEAR for my young friend, who brought me to tears today when he told the Huffington Post that he thinks of me as a big sister.  I always wanted a little brother!  :)

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If we continue on at this speed, we could have his second semester covered as early as sometime tomorrow, and the official Howard Cost of Attendance by Tuesday. Wow. And to think that just this past Tuesday, Howard Financial Aid told him to consider abandoning his dream and attending a state school or community college.  NOPE.

When I decided to launch this campaign, with James’s approval, participation, and input, I hoped for advice and maybe a few hundred dollars, maybe a couple thousand, and most importantly, that we would find an amenable lender with that reduction of need.  Instead, we’ve raised five figures, we’re doing interviews with the media, and we’re getting support from people like Common, Lou Diamond Phillips, and Fabio Viviani (full disclosure, I work with Fabio on Chow Ciao!).  PayPal even noticed the volume on our account, checked into our cause, and called to offer help as we navigate our tax liabilities.  

Yesterday, I spent the day with James, and the evening with his family, and I couldn’t help but see the real-time impact of this project on this strong, tightly-knit group.  It’s delightful to see how their love for one another compels them all to fight harder. 

As this journey continues, I thought I’d revisit our humble beginnings. Thanks to everyone for the invaluable generosity, advice, and support over the last five days. 

All best, and thanks so much for your shares, RTs, and likes on Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  Please continue to talk about us, as this helps us bring this issue to light…there are many more kids like James out there, and not all of them have a crazed former homeless person like me going to bat for them.  We need student loan reform.  We need to do something about the rising costs of higher education, so that college can once again become accessible to all American students, not just the rich ones and the ones with good credit.  

I thank you for reading, and for helping this last-minute effort become a life-changing experience for both James and me.

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