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Teen goes from homeless to student at Winston-Salem State University

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- As Chabarr McKenzie walks across campus, he is confident that he has found the right path.

"It's going great," McKenzie said. "My classes are fantastic and I am learning and meeting new people and getting a feel for school."

The Winston-Salem State University freshman is studying to be a computer engineer. That means lots of hours in the lab. But there was a time when McKenzie wasn't so sure about his future.

"I always had that feeling deep down. I am going to school. I just didn't know where and I didn't have the motivation," McKenzie said.

After high school graduation, McKenzie was homeless. Instead of giving up, he listened to that feeling and reached out to Ashley George for help.

"He showed an interest, he just stood out," George said. "I am a woman of faith and something was telling me to give him a chance."

George is a counselor for Youth Focus. Youth Focus guides family and youth through tough situations like homelessness. McKenzie and George got to work, putting together a plan that led him to WSSU.

"Even though you might be down one second, it's always going to be your time," McKenzie said. "It might not be right now, but it will one day. You just have to keep hustling and keep grinding."

George is proud of McKenzie's accomplishments.

"He is motivating himself," George said. "I am going to have to cut the rope so he can be an adult and experience those things himself. I want to give him those tools to be successful."

McKenzie has already created another goal. He is looking for a computer science internship.

To donate and help out McKenzie, contact Youth Focus Executive Director Jennifer Lewis at

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