As Kenneth Chancey walked across the stage to earn his degree in political science from Loyola Marymount University, he could not help but acknowledge the journey he took to get there, according to the Huffington Post.
“I climbed here bare-handed,” he said in an interview with ABC News. “And yes, it was harder than most people who are given resources, parental support. But it’s not impossible.”
Just a couple of years ago, Chancey was a homeless teenager living in the infamous Skid Row in Los Angeles. Having to care for himself at 11-years-old, he spent little time in the foster care system and would often have to sleep on buses.
He eventually began staying at the Union Rescue Mission homeless shelter on Skid Row with his father and sister, maintaining a 4.0 GPA and playing on his school’s varsity track, swim and football teams.
The 23-year-old graduate has already received several job offers and plans to spend his summer working at the Inner-City Arts summer camp. Chancey said he hopes his story will help change the stigma that surrounds homeless people.
“We hear perpetuating stereotypes that homeless are mentally ill or mentally unstable, but there’s families on Skid Row, and there are families that need support,” he said in an interview with ABC7. “Sometimes it’s not that people don’t want to exit Skid Row, its people don’t have the means and the opportunity to.”