Trinidad-born Dylan Chidick, 17, who came to the United States with his mother and twin brothers when he was seven years old and has been in and out of homelessness, has received letters of acceptance from 17 colleges.
His family had relocated to New Jersey from Trinidad in search of a better life but fell on hard times in 2017 because of mounting medical bills for his brothers who suffer serious heart conditions.
Chidick struggled to study in shelters where he and his family were given board. Eventually, Women Rising, a non-profit organization, put the family in permanent supportive housing, giving Chidick a safe place to study as he pursued his high school diploma at Henry Snyder High School in Jersey City and worked to help his family.
With his acceptance into 17 colleges, he will be the first person in his family to receive a higher education.
Chidick says it was the courage of his single mother, Khadine Phillip, to ask for help from Women Rising that makes him want to do better.
” Putting herself out there like that, that basically made me more determined to never let us get back in that situation again,” Chidick said.
“I have to have a lot of determination,” Chidick added. “There’s been a lot of people saying, ‘You’re not going to achieve this.’ Me getting these acceptance letters verifies what I have been saying: that I can do it and I will do it.”
Chiddick said he plans to study political science.