Keyon Anderson never imagined that this would be his reality.
ďI knew at a very young age that my brain didnít work like other peopleís.”
Keyon Anderson is graduating this week with his masterís degree in social work.
As the son of a single mother whose work often kept her away from home, Keyon was often left to live with friends and family members at a young age.
While he was exposed to poverty, gang violence and drugs, his biggest challenge was overcoming a learning disability.
Keyon went into high school reading at a second grade level.
Through the persistence of his mother, he was finally diagnosed with dyslexia. Teachers prior to that had attributed his troubles in school to behavioral issues.
His high school special education class teacher helped him become motivated to learn how to read and catch up with the other kids.
With help from his teachers and a lot of hard work and power of will, Keyon was reading at the appropriate grade level by the end of his freshman year.
At the same time, Keyon participated in the Step Into the Beach program offered through the Long Beach College Promise.
The Long Beach College Promise is a nationally renowned partnership between Long Beach Unified School District, Long Beach City College and CSULB. The College Promise offers Long Beachís youth pathways from pre-K through college and onto careers, including one tuition-free year at LBCC and guaranteed admission to CSULB for qualified Long Beach students.
The program organizes trips for students from local schools to visit CSULB and learn about requirements and meet potential mentors.
It was then that Keyon resolved to go to college.
Professor Gamble worked as a school psychologist when Keyon was in high school. He mentored Keyon and helped him get to college.
Keyon graduated from CSULB in 2012 with a bachelorís in social work, and while earning his masterís degree heís been serving as assistant director for the Long Beach chapter of the California Student Opportunity Access Program that provides financial aid services to low-income and first-generation students who are traditionally underrepresented in colleges and universities.
Keyon uses a lot of his own life experiences to relate to students he works with as a college advisor. Heís since found his passion for helping first-generation, low-income and ethnic minority kids achieve higher education.
As an advocate of the Long Beach College Promise, Keyon was recently invited to Washington D.C. to participate in First Lady Michelle Obamaís Beating the Odds summit.
In August, Keyon will start earning his Doctor of Education degree in Educational Leadership at the University of Southern California.