Meet Brook

This month our partner focus is on Bridges to Independence in Arlington, VA. This week we are highlighting Bridges’ Success Story – Brook.

Brook and His Family’s Story to Independence

Brook was born in Ethiopia and arrived in Arlington when he was 13 years old with his younger brother and parents. They first shared a two-bedroom apartment with another family of three. However, due to overcrowding rules, Brook’s family was forced to leave the unit. Brook’s parents did not have the financial capability to rent another apartment and did not know where to turn. They found themselves homeless and were referred to Bridges’ shelter. With a safe roof over their head, the parents were introduced to employers, who offered them work, and Brook enrolled into Bridges’ Youth Leadership Academy.

Brook did not speak or understand English at first. He was quiet, reserved, and exhibited little self-confidence. Through hard work and dedication, Brook worked with Bridges’ volunteer tutors to learn English and maintained a grade point average of 3.6!  Through learning English, combined with the Youth Leadership Academy, Brook grew confident. He later participated in Bridges’ youth-led 4-H club, where he became Vice President! Additionally, he became a youth leader at summer camps and attended leadership trainings. Brook also joined the youth running club “Bridges Runs,” where he earned awards in multiple 5k runs for his age group. As his self-confidence grew further, he joined the swim and rowing team at his local high school, where he was a stand-out athlete!

Brook’s hard work in the classroom and in sports earned him a four-year scholarship to Washington College. He is now in his junior year, has a 3.7 grade point average, is captain of the crew team, and is currently preparing to take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)! He plans to start medical school upon graduating college and wants to practice Internal Medicine.

Brook’s parents are both earning living wages and have been living independently in Arlington for the past 3 years. They recently purchased their first home! His younger brother, who also joined the Youth Leadership Academy, is now a freshman Engineering major at Virginia Tech.

Brook then and now:


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