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One in Three: Brandon

Nov

16

Photos by Ingrid Damiani

From the Jacksonville Public Education Fund.

Brandon’s struggles started early in his life when he felt keenly the absence of his father.

As he grew up, the absence of positive influences played as much a role in Brandon’s life as the presence of negative ones.

He needed role models to show him that education was the key to success, but none emerged. No extra tutoring helped enough when he struggled with math.

When he fought too much at school, special education classes were ordered, and his academic achievement slipped.

Although his mother tried to move him to Middleburg in middle school, he got involved with substance abuse and fell in with the wrong crowd. He moved back to Jacksonville to live with a relative. When he was 15 and his sister needed help paying the rent, no one tried to talk him out of the armed robbery they attempted together.

Today, as he awaits trial in the Duval County Pre-Trial Detention Center, Brandon sees more clearly those missing pieces. He studies hard and has become a role model for other juvenile inmates. He is the correctional officers’ first pick to lead tours of the jail and brings to tears other teens who he hopes to dissuade from getting in the same trouble he did.

He dreams of one day becoming a psychologist or a pastor. He prays that the world might see he has redeemed himself.

 

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