When you grow up in difficult situations, it can be easy to use your surroundings as an excuse to settle in life. Things are the way they are and that’s that. However, most people will argue that you define your own future.
One teen boy from New Jersey has overcome homelessness and been accepted into 17 different colleges, proving to the world that you are not just a product of your environment and anything is possible.
Dylan Chidick moved to the U.S. from Trinidad when he was only 7 years old.
After arriving, Dylan’s family experienced several difficulties including living in and out of homelessness.
Dylan’s younger twin brothers are also living with serious heart conditions.
But this hasn’t stopped Dylan from setting his goals high and achieving them.
“I have to have a lot of determination,” said the now 17-year-old. Dylan is the senior class president at Henry Snyder High School and was recently inducted into the Honor Society.
Despite skepticism from his peers, Dylan has overcome countless challenges and even been accepted to 17 different colleges.
“There has been a lot of people saying, ‘you’re not going to achieve this.’ And me, getting these acceptance letters kind of verifies what I have been saying, that I can do it, and I will do it,” he said.
Dylan will be the first member of his family to go to college. He says it was his mother’s courage to ask for help that inspired him to do better.
Single mom Khadine Phillip asked for help for her family from the non-profit Women Rising.
“It has been hard financially, we have been homeless,” said Khadine.
“Putting herself out there like that, that made me more determined to never let us get back in that situation again,” Dylan said.
A representative from Women Rising also commended Dylan’s mother’s courage. “She is a great example in doing all that’s necessary to help her children,” said Roseann Mazzeo of Women Rising.
Women Rising offered Dylan’s family permanent supportive housing and a safe place for him to study while he waits on what he hopes will be his last acceptance letter.
“The College of New Jersey I haven’t heard back yet but that is my top school right now,” Dylan said.
We’re rooting for you, Dylan!