Friday, June 24, 2011

Took a Village to Raise Him, Now He's a Lawyer

OK, here's my feel-good story for the month courtesy of the Fresno Bee.  Tyrone Wilson was raised by wolves, well almost--20 foster families and now he's a lawyer.  Here's an excerpt from a lovely story at the fb: 
Despite growing up in 20 foster homes and being warned that he would end up in prison one day, Tyrone Wilson, 28, of Tulare was sworn in last week as a member of the State Bar of California.
He's a lawyer now.

"He could have become bitter -- he became better," said Tulare County Superior Court Judge Valeriano Saucedo, who administered the oath as Wilson's former foster parents and his biological mother watched with pride.

"Miracles can happen," Wilson said, choking up. "I was told all my life I was a bad kid -- 'You're going to be dead or in prison.'"

Last month, he passed the bar exam after a few tries. He shouted for joy when he got the news, causing neighbors to wonder what was going on. 
 
Local sports fans might recognize Wilson's name.

Ten years ago, he was a football player at Tulare Western High School, played at Fresno City College for two years and then at the University of Buffalo in New York, where he graduated with a degree in African-American studies. He graduated from the Buffalo Law School in 2009.

It wasn't an easy road.

His mother was a drug addict. When he was 6, Child Protective Services removed him and his siblings from her home, and he bounced between foster homes. He engaged in petty crime and got kicked out of school for fighting.

But some foster parents fought for him, he said.

Cathy Frasquillo of Tulare was one. She yelled at a principal behind closed doors until he agreed to let Tyrone back in school, Wilson told the crowd in Saucedo's courtroom.

"Don't prove me wrong!" she sternly told Wilson. But she died, and he started backsliding. Then Jess Washington, an African-American pig farmer in Pixley, became his first real father figure, making him do chores like everyone else in the family.  "I'm so indebted to the guy," Wilson said. "He gave me life lessons. He was a good, strong Christian man who loved me." Washington died March 5.
Later, firefighter Carlton Jones and Tia Coleman of Tulare let Wilson live with them. [. . . ] Two years ago, Saucedo heard Wilson speak to a group of young people who were living in foster homes or caught up in the court system. Saucedo liked what he heard and ended up tutoring Wilson for the bar exam.

"It took a village to raise me," Wilson said[.]
_____________________________________________
Very cool. 

Now stay out of trouble!

3 comments:

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