One CityU student shares his story about homelessness and how education changed his life
After losing his job and becoming homeless, Alfonso Brown decided to change his life by getting an education.
“I barbered for many years and in 2009 I lost my job. I really couldn’t find gainful employment without an education” Brown said. “After reading The On Purpose Person by Kevin W. McCarthy, a book that is about creating your own path, I knew that education was the only door open for me.”
Although Alfonso did not have a car or a home, he knew he wanted to take the leap and decided to enroll in school. “During my times of hardships, sleeping in shelters, etc., I was doing a lot of reading,” Brown said. “A lot of the authors that I was coming across – John Maxwell, Peter Drucker, Roger Fritz – spoke about the importance of education.”
While working towards his bachelor’s degree at Evergreen College (Tacoma), Alfonso was certain he wanted to continue his education. “After being denied by several top 25 Ph.D psychology programs, I learned about City University of Seattle. After doing some research I determined that CityU was like the Harvard of online programs and that CityU had several highly credited master’s programs.”
The thought of enrolling in a leadership program may seem intimidating, but for Alfonso, it was an easy decision. “I became interested in leadership and committed to creating a positive impact in the lives of other people.”
The first step to becoming a leader
After enrolling in the Master of Arts in Leadership program, Alfonso moved into a new home and accepted a job that combined his education with his experiences. “I work for a juvenile re-entry program that’s designed to help teach hard and soft skills to young adults in the juvenile system. Most of the kids are now young adults and come from generations of delinquency,” Alfonso said. By sharing his experiences from his past and being directionless, he is able to mentor young adults and show them what their future may hold if they continue making poor life choices. “What I’ve experienced due to bad choices has been absolutely terrible…. I get to tell them what it’s going to be like if they don’t make good decisions.”
When giving advice to someone considering starting a degree at City University of Seattle, Alfonso said “Don’t hesitate – start today. The only thing that you can do to add value to yourself is by adding education.”
Alfonso is currently finishing his MAL degree and is intending to continue with CityU’s Doctor of Education in Leadership program.