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There have been many times in my life that the road forked and someone saved me before I went the wrong way. One person in particular was the director of the Robinson’s Scholars program.

Sequoyah, 28
Incarcerated: 3 years
Housed: Lexington, Kentucky

Do you ever wonder what your life might be like if you’d never crossed paths with certain people? I do. There have been many times in my life that the road forked and someone saved me before I went the wrong way. Some were just brush encounters, but there were others whose impact changed the entire course of my existence. One person in particular was the director of the Robinson’s Scholars program I was a part of. I met him when I was a sophomore in high school, during a time when I was lost within my trauma. I think he sensed that from our first conversation because every time we talked after that, he showed genuine interest and concern for me. Over time the fortress that I’d built around me for my protection gave way and a bond forged between us. I had never had an active father to nurture me and most of the men I’d been around were predators who made me feel very uncomfortable. He was different though. Kindness, safety, love, and support radiated off of him. He took me under his wings with the goal of seeing me fly on my own one day.

Despite his efforts, I stumbled many times before I began to find my footing. When everyone counted me out, he dug his cleats in and coached me through the storms. I was ready to give up on myself and probably would’ve without his unwavering encouragement. Very often, I found myself questioning why. Why did he care? Why did he try so hard? What was so special about me? I mean he was a stranger; he had no obligation to help me. My own family didn’t even do these things, so why was he? I could never understand what he saw in me that made him think I was worth investing in. But he did and never faltered in showing me how much he wanted me to succeed. When I graduated high school, he stood in those stands proudly like a father would for his daughter. His presence continued on when I went to college too. When I started making reckless decisions again, he swooped in and got me back in order. He was determined to keep me from self-destructing. After a while, he became the voice of reason and my most trusted confidant. Nearly seven years after we met, I walked across the graduate stage once more. The stadium was packed full. When it came time for me to receive my diploma, there he was standing with honor as my father.

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