Malik was just your average high school student. He complained about school but deep down he actually enjoyed the social aspect of it. He liked to play sports, especially football, and he was good at it. From the outside, he looked “normal”.
However, from the inside Malik felt a little broken. Malik and his family were homeless. They couch surfed on friends’ sofas, slept in their car and tried to make ends meet without letting anyone know. Football was the glue that held it together for him. No one knew on the football field that he was homeless. No one cared that he didn’t have a street address. They cared about his speed and his athletic ability and trying to catch him when he broke loose on a run. He was so good, in fact, he was awarded a scholarship for football although he never received the notification because he didn’t have an address.
Family Promise accepted Malik and his family into the Congregational Shelter Program in the summer of 2018. Malik and his family ‘lived’ in local congregations for three months while they worked with a case manager to find employment, save money and find a home of their own.
While living in the Shelter Program, Malik learned that he had been offered a full athletic scholarship to Lane College in Tennessee to play football. The letter had been delivered to an address where he no longer lived. Malik’s case manager found out and jumped into action. She began calling the school’s athletic director and the admissions office explaining the family’s situation and asking for a second chance. The school granted Malik permission but said he must report to school within two days.
The case manager and Malik’s family scurried to pack and loaded the Family Promise van and drove 11 hours to Tennessee. Malik met with the school administration and they agreed to grant him a full scholarship to play football.
Malik is playing football and working toward a college degree. He is the first in four generations to graduate high school and the first ever in his family to attend college. Through the dedication of generous supporters and donors, Malik is achieving his wildest dreams and doing it while playing a sport he dearly loves.