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Meet Marcus

For Marcus, waking up in the morning can be a battle. At times, he has to resist the urge to give up. And then there's the biggest challenge of all: not believing in himself. But Marcus is determined to succeed, determined to defy the odds, and determined to be a role model. He has younger brothers to inspire, a mother to make proud, and a plan that could take him all over the world. For Marcus, quitting is not an option.

A junior at NC A&T Middle College, Marcus is mature beyond his 16 years. He views himself as a role model for his brothers, and behaves as such, saying "yes ma'am" and "yes sir," and showing them, in little ways, that he cares. But he also wants to set a good example for how to lead a successful life—how to make good choices.

For Marcus, good choices are graduating from high school, going to a four-year college and eventually earning a master’s degree. He wants to be financially secure, so he can provide for his future wife and children. His plan for financial security is to become a business owner…

but not a small business owner. No, Marcus wants to take his business across the country and maybe even the world!

These are not naive ideas. Marcus understands the realities of running a business. His mother's business, like many small businesses, didn't make it. But Marcus saw what could be, and he is set on being a success. "I have to get where I want to go," he says.

His determination and drive to succeed haven't always been so strong. He used to be afraid to speak in public. He didn't aim high because he wasn't sure he could get there. SHIELD has provided Marcus with a safe space, free from the fears of bullying and peer pressure. SHIELD is a place where he can express himself, understand his potential, and plan for his future. The program has taught him not to be afraid, and to aim high because the only thing that is stopping him is self-doubt.

This year Marcus ran for class president. He admits he was nervous when he gave his speech. It took him a minute to get his words out, but he did. Marcus didn’t win, but he considers his campaign a learning experience. Will he run again? "Yes," he says, “never quit. Never"


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