Richard’s mom moved him to Catholic School in the second grade after he experienced difficulties in public school from an early age. Richard has a difficult time to remember the specific age he first got involved with Inner-City Scholarship Fund because he was so young. He recalls writing letters to his sponsor, Margaret Sharkey as early as 4th grade.
Margaret Sharkey sponsored Richard throughout grade school and high school. Richard believes Margaret’s sponsorship made a large impact on his life, as he grew up in the projects in Manhattan. Richard says, “Unless you’ve lived in poverty, you really don’t understand how debilitating it is. I’m not talking about wants, I’m talking about needs that people can’t meet.”
From little things such as heat and hot water, to larger things like an education, individuals in Richard’s position start at a disadvantage. Richard states, “it’s a feeling of hopelessness more than anything because of the crime and lack of people trying to do positive things with their lives.”
Richard feels lucky because he had the opportunity to go to Catholic school. He believed if he excelled at the given opportunity, he would have the chance to remove himself from his destined path of growing up in poverty.
Looking forward, Richard plans to keep an open mind. He says, “As time goes on, I hope to have opportunities to help people. I feel like I have an obligation to do.”