I came to Gainesville with nothing. I didn’t have a penny. I’m from Nigeria and came here to attend a conference. While I was coming, I lost my credit card that I was to use for hotels, food, all of that. I asked a fellow in the Gainesville Airport, ‘Where can I stay? I have to find a way to survive.’ He told me there was a shelter called GRACE Marketplace. He took me there, and they fed me and told me they’d make it work. The beauty of it all is that, while I was there, I felt there was a reason. There was a reason I lost my credit card and stumbled into GRACE. Interacting with the people there, it made me see things from a different perspective. But I couldn’t stay at GRACE forever. I became an intern–and now, I am a house manager–at House of Hope, a prison transition home. When I told the people at House of Hope I wanted to continue in academics, they said they had a relationship with Santa Fe and took it all from there. I did my application and was able to get a scholarship–free tuition–through House of Hope. I wanted to study something that had a similarity to my work there, so I’m pursuing Criminal Justice. It has been quite a ride, but, so far, I’m loving it.
– Prince Ulame Erase, A.A. Criminal Justice