(WSVN) - A Haitian immigrant has a bright future thanks to a South Florida businessman. In tonight’s Hope And Healing report, 7’s Craig Stevens shows us how these two very different people are making a huge impact on one another’s lives.
All smiles and surrounded by friends, Garsendy may look like any other teen.
But dig a little deeper, and you’ll find out his life hasn’t always been this happy.
Garsendy St. Fleur, high school senior: “I’m from Haiti. I was born in Port-au-Prince. The people get mad at the government and there’s always fighting.”
Garsendy always dreamed of being the first in his family to get a college degree.
Garsendy St. Fleur: “I want to go to college and study business.”
But for a teen in Haiti, just getting a job out of high school can be a challenge.
Garsendy St. Fleur: “There’s not a lot of opportunities. You need to have a friend or family so they can try to get you a connection to get the job.”
So when the family moved to the U.S., Garsendy swore he would make his college dream come true.
But he quickly learned it was going to be an uphill battle.
Garsendy St. Fleur: “My English wasn’t that good, but I still understood what someone was saying to me — but I didn’t know how to respond back.”
He studied hard and enrolled in an after-school program called Propel.
Gregg Francis, CEO of Propel: “He came on board a shy individual, but I never met somebody who worked so hard.”
The program helps with tutoring for high school classes and college entrance exams. Garsendy excelled.
Gregg Francis: “Not only does he carry a 3.7 GPA, but his character is above and beyond that.”
He did so well, in fact, that he caught the attention of Richard Weissman.
The CEO of a nationwide preschool program called The Learning Experience wanted to become Garsendy’s mentor.
Richard Weissman, CEO, The Learning Experience: “He respected himself so much that not once in communication that I had with him did he ever complain about everynything. He asked for guidance.”
Richard gave Garsendy a summer job, and after two years, their relationship grew.
Richard Weissman: “He understands that he can talk to me, and he understands that I’m here to support him, but that’s a two-way street.”
Richard now sees Garsendy as a part of his family. He is even offering to pay for part of his college.
Richard Weissman: “I put him in the same caliber as my kids.”
Garsendy St. Fleur: “I never expected somebody to help me that much. I would love to follow in his steps.”
But Richard says he gets just as much inspiration from the relationship.
Richard Weissman: “I don’t think I’m as much of a man as he is.”
And this young man hopes to make his mentor proud when he heads off to college next year.
Garsendy hopes to get accepted to Florida Atlantic University and enroll in the fall.
To learn more about Propel and the programs they offer, go to the links below.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
The Learning Experience:
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