My name is Lamell Carrington. I was born on July, 11th, 1994 at twelve o’clock a.m. My mom gave birth to me at Mount Sinai hospital, but my home was in Harlem on 123rd street and 1st avenue; also known as Wagner Houses. My mom had four kids at a young age and I was the youngest of them all. She did the best she could, but struggled to take care of us. My mom faced many obstacles. She was a single parent of four, was diagnosed with Arthritis and Lupus and she suffered from a major car accident. Everything drastically changed the night my mom got hit by a car after work. She no longer was able to effectively do her job due to her injuries. So in a domino effect, she later could not afford to pay the rent and as a result, we ended up in a shelter. We didn’t stay there long because my mom’s lawsuit was settled, but being homeless played a major part in who I am today.
After moving to my new home in Queens, I thought to myself that I would never be in that predicament again. So I decided to go sell drugs as a means to make money. I believed poverty was the reason why we were homeless. While I was hustling on the block one day I ran into my mom’s friend. I didn’t want to hurt my mom anymore so I begged him not to tell her. He told me to give him the drugs and that he doesn’t want to see me standing in any drug spots anymore. So I did and he told me a story about how he lost his son to drugs and that I should never want to make my mom feel like that. He also said, if I really wanted to help my mom, I should finish school and stay out of jail.
Years later after the encounter with my mom’s friend, I developed a new set of friends. They were genuinely good people. We grew up together in Queens and became like brothers to me. At this time I was a sophomore in high school and was in a two-year relationship with a girl I met in my freshman year. Usually my friends and I would do things to stay out of trouble such as play basketball, football and go to the library to play Playstation 3. But one Saturday in December 2010 my friends and I got bored and decided it would be funny to rob someone. So we did and we got caught.
My experience with jail was very unpleasant. I did not like being restricted behind bars, or being told what to do and when to do it. The corrupt correction officers and the food I was being served made life harsh and I knew I never wanted to spend my life in prison. The conditions of the jail system were horrible. When I finally got a chance to see the judge, I could see the disappointed faces of my mom and girlfriend in the stands. It broke my heart for them to see me in handcuffs. The officers released me because it was my first offense and I was sentenced to three years probation for strong armed robbery. When I left the court I started thinking about life in a different aspect. I learned that not keeping yourself occupied with positive things can lead to something negative, and that I needed to grow up.
When I got back home, I registered myself in a G.E.D program. I decided that since I wasn’t going to high school, that I would just get my G.E.D and go to college. Once I started attending my new school, I developed new habits. I stopped hanging out in the streets and began spending my days studying in the house. A year later I passed my G.E.D exam and began trying to find my next steps in life. I eventually got a job at Duane Reade, and then four months later I left to begin working at Starbucks. I also worked at the flea market on the weekends. As of December of 2013, I moved out of my mom’s house into my own. I also got engaged to my fiancé and provide for both her and I. As of January of 2015I started college to become an accountant.
My fiancé is my inspiration to become a successful accountant. I want to make her happy and I want her to be my wife and the mother of my children. She always believed in me. Even when I was doing bad, she saw the potential I had to be great. I feel as though I owe it to her to be the best person I can be, for her as well as myself. Though it will be a long four years until I get my degree in accounting, I believe I can get it done as long as she believes in me.
My short-term goal for now is to become a mentor. I want to become a mentor because I would like to give back to the community and other youth. When I was younger and misguided, I had people to help me get back on the right track. When I asked most individuals why did they help me, they replied by saying “It takes a village to raise a child”. I believe that all it takes is a motivated person to make a change. Kids are the future and I want to be a role model to guide them to the right future.
My favorite saying is, “Anything is achievable”. With hard work and dedication, I have made tremendous strides in my life. My experiences have taught me that many people don’t grow up with silver spoons. Some don’t even have silverware. There is an upside to that though. When you grow up with nothing, you can still develop into a person who is a positive role model for youth. I am a credible messenger that other impoverished youth can relate to. I am ready to share my story of transformation to all youth so we can positively change the world.