For some men the path to a Better Life takes many different turns.

Drew Gavins, a 56 year-old man, dropped out of 10th grade because at the time he had a job and felt like he didn’t need to stay in school. Over the past 40 years he has held many manual labor jobs, but now he has a dream to become a nurse. In June 2018, almost 40 years after he left high school, Drew received his high school diploma from the Ballou S.T.A.Y. program in DC. (This is not a GED, but a completed high school diploma.)

“This summer I will enroll in a med tech program and after that I plan to enroll in Montgomery College’s nursing program. I now have a five year plan. After many years of struggling to stay ahead, I finally decided I want a better life and now is the time!” Drew has been homeless for about two years. He had been living with a brother, but when the brother got married, it was mutually agreed that he would move out – but he had no place to go to. Now he is working toward a more stable life and following the Better Life Pyramid.

“When I left school I had jobs like landscaping, housekeeping and other manual labor positions that paid minimum wage. I have helped raise nine children – six of whom are now successful adults. I am still involved in the lives of my three youngest children, aged 17, 8 and 3. I want them to look up to me and see a man who has been true to himself and to them.”

“The Father McKenna Center has been instrumental in helping me set a new direction for my life. Cortez McDaniel has been an inspiration and he has been my guide. As I move ahead I choose to make good decisions for myself and for my children.”

Cortez McDaniel, Director of Services at The Father McKenna Center, commented about Drew’s efforts to rebuild his life, “Andrew did not always project this positive, forward thinking attitude. Under our watch Andrew has addressed the ‘inner man’ and made good choices to make real change in his life. Like all the men who seek our help, he received compassion with expectations. That is we offered him real help, that comes with a set of goals.”

Congratulations and good luck, Drew!