“In high school, I wasn't really thinking about college. I was thinking about how to survive.”

Michael and his mentor TerryWith the help of City Gospel Mission, Michael attained a full-ride scholarship to Cincinnati Christian University through its Urban Scholars program, which focuses on improving retention and graduation rates for first-generation college students.

What he learned from mentor Terry and at CCU by taking Biblical Studies and Business Management classes, Michael is passing on to his son.

“In high school, I wasn’t really thinking about college. I was thinking about how to survive,” Michael says. “I want my son to know at a young age that there are bigger and better things out here for us to do. You don’t have to think about if you’re going to get shot tomorrow or if you are going to have to sell drugs to take care of your family. If you go to school and do what you’re supposed to do, you can get a good education and get a good job.”

City Gospel Mission assists CCU in the recruiting process and the pre-college training program. Michael has established lasting relationships with classmates and professors.

“I’ve seen Michael grow in the program because he embraced accountability and structure,” says Terry, a member of the University of Cincinnati’s 1992 Final Four team. “At CCU, he’s being trained to be a leader — and that’s what he has become. I’ve said, ‘If you can continue to do this, you’re on the path to break this generational curse over your family … Now, your son will be expected to go to college because you’ve set the bar.’ ”