News

A Young Man with a Huge Goal

by Don Meyer, Ph.D. | December 27, 2008

"When you discover your mission, your life will feel its demand. It will fill you with enthusiasm and burning desire to work on it."
W. Clement Store

Chris is a young man with a huge goal. He wants to earn a law degree to help him change the world. As he says, to "...empower the powerless." 

He grew up in the Thomas Jefferson projects on the corner of East 112th Street and First Avenue in Spanish Harlem, New York City. His father was an ex-political prisoner in Cuba who migrated to this country in 1980. His mother was born in Puerto Rico and was raised in Spanish Harlem. 

As a child, Chris lived in a dangerous world. Each night his parents made him and his brother sleep in single beds against the concrete walls below the window for safety. Bunk beds could have made them vulnerable in case a neighborhood shootout sent ricocheting bullets into their room. 

His parents were determined to improve their lives. As they did they each earned, with honors, college degrees which eventually enabled them to move their family to a better neighborhood. 

Out of this challenging background something special was planted in Chris' heart. As he grew older, his burden for the less fortunate grew. Listen to his words, "I have visited the Navajo Native-American reservation in Albuquerque, New Mexico; skid-row in the poverty-stricken streets of Los Angeles, California, North Philadelphia; the inner-city streets and villages in the Bahamas; hospices and children's orphanages in Montego Bay, Jamaica, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic." 

These encounters affected him deeply. "In all these different 'worlds' I was troubled with the hurt and dismay that I felt for the people of the community. I pondered the ethical dilemma that I encountered personally; Who gets what they need? Who is left out? Why should the few have it all, while the rest are left to pray to their God because there seems to be no way out of their communities? 

Chris wrote those words in his "Personal Statement" which is part of his application to law school. His passion oozed out of each paragraph. 

His own words say it all, "If all humanity was created equal, then why have I not seen the same opportunities that the powerful few take for granted given to the rest of the masses?" 

Chris is a senior at Valley Forge Christian College where he majors in Urban Ministry. Why does he want to go to law school? Why does he want to keep growing? 

"I am not going to law school because of its prestige or because of the lucrative benefits that come with this profession. Frankly, I already feel rich, especially in comparison to where I came from (even more so in spirit and because of the love of my family). I am going to law school because I care about others. It is the zeal that has birthed within me to see liberty reign, because I have seen the calamity and the consequences where there is an absence of freedom and justice for all." 

As I read these words I was overwhelmed with his passion to "resurrect our urban communities in America." And there is no doubt in my mind that he will achieve this goal, and then some. 

I love being around young people who have big goals to change their world. There is something about their idealism and energy and questing spirits which never cease to inspire me. Whether they are studying music or education, theology or technology, business or social work, none of them wants to be average. And their desire to make a difference inspires me after living over six decades to do the same. They are indeed amazing. 

As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "The world makes way for the man who knows where he's going." 

Keep going, Chris. 

Think about it.


Dr. Don Meyer is President of 
Valley Forge Christian College, Phoenixville, PA 
Responses can be mailed to president@vfcc.edu