Josiah has learned a few things about perseverance.

He lost his father to sickle cell anemia when he was just 10 years old. He was homeschooled initially, but when his father was on his death bed, he asked Josiah’s mother to promise to put Josiah and the other kids in strong schools.

After he passed away, however, private school seemed impossible to Josiah and his mother. They moved out of the family house into an apartment where his mother continued teaching as a college professor. They were all struggling and missing Dad.

But in the midst of that dark time, an ACE scholarship brought new light to their family and with that support Josiah was able to enroll at Little Rock Christian Academy—a place that would help fill some of the holes in his heart. It wasn’t just a school. It was a community. The teachers and administrators embraced his family in an overwhelming way.

In time, Josiah began to heal and grow. He went from a bored student, to a 4.2 GPA achiever. He transformed from a shy, quiet kid, to the student body president. That didn’t happen out of luck. It happened, because a scholarship made it possible for him to go the school that was best for him. A place where he had mentors that cared about him, who showed him what being a strong yet emotional leader looks like. Men who even showed him how to tie a tie the night of a school dance!

Thanks to his scholarship, the learning didn’t just take place in his head, but in his heart, as well. His journey of growth has given him permission and the capacity to pursue his own dreams. A few years ago, he had no interest in college. Now he’s a freshman at Oral Roberts University, studying ministry leadership and nonprofit work.

Josiah loves people and art, and his vision is to build a nonprofit space where people can safely come to express what they’re feeling, and turn it into something beautiful—a lasting work of art. His father would be so proud. And we certainly all are, too!

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