Angel is a freshman at Oak Valley. He came via a referral from an Advisory Board Member. If you are, or would like to become, an Advisory Board Member, you can help students like Angel. Contact Mark at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
Angel grew up in Banning and the Coachella Valley. Raised in a drug infested home, you would not recognize Angel from his roots. His parents were drug addicts and dealers. He describes a harrowing and disturbing childhood surrounded by drugs and gangs.
He grew up primarily with his father. He describes his mother as not an active part of his life. At one point, child protective services (CPS) raided Angel's home and put him in foster care. His father "promised" Angel that he would come for him in three weeks. Angel dutifully packed his bags at the three week mark in foster care and waited at the door for his father...but he did not come.
Two years later, Angel's father hit rock bottom and was stabbed seven times. He was not expected to live. When he did survive, he was 'scared straight.' At that point, Angel's father decided to turn his life around, seek God, get cleaned up, and fulfill his commitment to his son.
That was 12 years ago. Angel was rescued from foster care and since that time, you could only describe Angel's journey as God-led. After Angel's father "collected" Angel, there was a lot of bitterness and strife between father and son. Angel went down a path of drugs and gangs, but his father held firm in his love for his son.
His dad made one final agreement with Angel - attend a weekend church camp experience, and then Angel would never have to come to church again with his father. On the second day of that experience, Angel's heart softened and he embraced God's love for the first time.
It has been six years since Angel turned his life toward God. He and his father now serve in ministry at Cornerstone Church in Palm Desert where Angel heads up the children's ministry.
Angel describes his graduation from high school as transformational. "I loved that feeling. Being the first in my family to graduate from high school was powerful, and earning my degree at Oak Valley is the next step."
Angel commutes from the Coachella Valley to Colton to attend school, 70 miles, one-way. He has a purpose and spirit that pushes him forward. He has been through a lot, so a three-hour daily commute does not seem that burdensome. It is worth it. You can tell Angel has a powerful source of energy within him.
He does not intend to stop at his bachelor's degree, either. Through the support of his pastor and others, Angel is being encouraged to pursue a graduate degree. Oak Valley has articulation agreements (and some scholarship opportunities) for Angel to continue his education after he completes his BA.
If you meet Angel, you will find a confident and capable young man, full of promise and strong God-given leadership qualities. The power of an Oak Valley education is able to help Angel take that next step to live, learn, and grow. We look forward to see Angel’s father greet him when he crosses the stage at Commencement in two short years.
Pray for great things to come for Angel and his father.