Richard Bennett

University of South Carolina Beaufort

Richard Bennett is a junior at the University of South Carolina Beaufort. His parents born, in the Jim Crow South were a part of the Great Migration, moving north looking for better opportunities. Richard is a first-generation college student. Cloaked with the spirit of his great, great, great grandfather, a runaway slave who fought for the Union Army in the Civil War, Richard’s stated purpose is to help as many people as possible as they fight for their freedom which may have been derailed by alcohol, drugs, poverty, or mental health conditions. He is committed to developing and implementing various community programs, including an inner-city parenting program. As a child who grew up in a similar environment, he can identify with the unique challenges that parents and children living in urban America face. Richard is currently interning with Communities in Schools, a program that allows him to build relationships with students in need of the support of a caring adult. He empowers students to take their education seriously, expressing the importance of graduating and having a plan for their lives, all while sharing the wisdom he has gained through his various life experiences, and empathizing with their struggles.

Al Panu
University of South Carolina Beaufort

Personal Statement

I have always been drawn towards helping people, and over the years I have had the opportunity to help in lots of different ways. I have assisted with HIV/AIDS education, purchased and delivered holiday meal and care packages for the homeless, and volunteered in homeless shelters. Presently, I write and publish self-help books to help people be the best version of themselves, and facilitate community meetings to provide support and accountability. As I have grown older, I have come to understand the incredible impact that good parenting (or lack of good parenting) has on young people and how it deeply affects their life path, so I have begun mentoring at a local high school. I realize the importance of having parents and adults who are educated on parenting skills and techniques. Now, my focus has shifted to developing and implementing a parenting program to help families with young people who are growing up in single parent households and who are facing many of the same challenges I faced as a young person. I have discovered my path of purpose and now I will continue to work towards walking my path of purpose.

Richard Bennett
Human Services: Class of May 2023
written 2022

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