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It’s a YBF story of inspiration and triumph — the American dream come true for one man. Come inside witness one immigrant’s journey from homelessness to the Ivy League…

In light of the countless shootings of unarmed Black men, and the murders of 9 Black church members in South Carolina, it’s easy to forget that there is an American dream. The chance of prosperity is supposedly open to everyone. But the road is often much harder for some than others.

Today, we’ve got a story about an immigrant from the Bahamas who’s going from the streets of the Bronx to the Ivy League – at 36 years old! And he’s done some truly fabulous things, like founding his own charity to feed the homeless, to help others along the way.

Wellington Mackey has a story. And this fall, he’ll be sharing it at Yale University thanks to the prestigious Cooke Scholarship for Transfer Students. CBS News tells the story saying:

At 36 years old, Wellington Mackey will be on the older undergrads at Yale University this fall, and after receiving the prestigious Cooke Scholarship for Transfer Students, he won’t have to pay for it.

“I don’t know how to even put it into words,” [Mackey] told CBS2’s Matt Kozar.

Mackey grew up poor in the Bahamas. He came to the U.S. by himself 13 years ago, and rented an apartment in the Bronx.
But his American dream quickly hit a brick wall; $100 a week working odd jobs wasn’t paying the rent. He was evicted and had nowhere to go.

Mackey slept on benches, in basements, and occasionally on friends’ couches.

“When you’re in that mode, you’re just trying to survive and go from day to day.”

He relied on the generosity of church friends to help him back on his feet. He got a job with a cable satellite company, founded a charity called Helping Hands that works with soup kitchens, attended Westchester Community College on a full scholarship, and is now on to the Ivy League.

Sandra Ramsay, Westchester Community College director of scholarships and the woman who alerted Wellington about the opportunity, told CBS News, “Never give up. Anything is possible. You don’t know the opportunities available to you until you reach out and try.”

Wellington added, “I didn’t come to school so I can get some career or make a lot of money. It was this goal in mind to change the realities of the most vulnerable people in society.”

What we’ve learned through Wellington’s story is that hard work and persistence aligned with OPPORTUNITIES will afford those who aren’t born with priviledge access to the “American” dream. He’s case in point why everyone – no matter age or background or previous tribulations – deserves a chance.

Congrats Wellington!

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