Sasha Bruce

A Speech at the British Embassy

Anthony Ross is the winner of Sasha Bruce’s 2009 College Scholarship Competition. He relayed his remarkable journey from homelessness to a 4.0 grade point average during his first semester at college to a rapt audience at the British Embassy on May 28.

Have you ever thought about what it would be like to grow up without at least one parent? To live alone, to buy your own clothes, and generally care of yourself ? I don’t know how I managed to make it this far without them.

Sasha Bruce Youthwork is one of the many places and organizations I sought out in order to survive–and they have done a magnificent job in making sure I chase my dreams, and become the best man I can be.

At age 13, my Grandmother died and my family split up. From there on, I became a rolling stone; living with friends, lost relatives and in group homes. When I was sixteen my social worker introduced me to the only emergency shelter in Washington, DC, the Sasha Bruce House. I was uncomfortable with the kids in the group home so I left and continued living on the streets. But, I soon ran out of options of people to live with—-I hit rock bottom—-and had no choice but to go back.

Living in the Bruce House, I was able to receive comprehensive assistance, tutoring programs, extracurricular activities and therapy sessions for releasing stress. At age 17, I was approved to move into another program sponsored by Sasha Bruce—their independent living facility. This facility has provided me with tutors for SAT preparation along with materials I needed to pass the tests. While there, I was able to work several jobs and return to school to receive my GED. Moreover, I was able to save thousands of dollars. I later got my driver’s license, became a youth advocate, and appeared on ABC 7 News to speak on behalf of the Adolescence Survival Guide which helps young people meet the difficult challenges that life has to offer. As a result of SBY’s programs, I was able to follow my dreams and was accepted at Saint Augustine’s college in Raleigh, NC. I am very proud that in my first semester I achieved a 4.0 grade point.

While I had made a commitment to try my best to accomplish all of my goals and to never go homeless again, without any financial assistance to continue in college it was going to be tough. This Sasha Bruce Scholarship will help me with food, books and hotel arrangements to stay during school holidays and the summer break…because I sometimes end up without anywhere to live when the campus is closed. It will take me one step closer to making sure that I become a prudent and successful lawyer by allowing me to attend one of the best law schools that the United States has to offer——thus helping to lay a foundation for the unthinkable for me..being able to participate in a shift for our country.

Above all, Sasha Bruce definitely deserves a standing ovation for what they do——and have done——for troubled youth, especially me. I am so grateful to the staff of Sasha Bruce for giving their time and dedication to someone in whom they saw potential…ME! My journey has taken a mixture of determination, endurance, stamina and relentless acts of positive behavior. It was extremely hard to make it this far without a family…and Sasha Bruce Youthwork has always been there to provide both physical and mental support.

Thank you Sasha Bruce….I will always soar for excellence no matter what.