He once lived on the streets. Now he plans to shape social policy. “It’s crazy. At one point, the world didn’t want to deal with me, and now it’s like I’ve got these amazing people who have already achieved what I want to get to, supporting me.”
by Rebecca Endres
Born into a broken home full of abuse and anger, Carlos Flores ’14 was turned out of the house at the age of 16 and forced to fend for himself on the streets. The experience nearly devastated him. Eventually, he found solace and inspiration in books and then in social activism. “I had an idea,” he said. “I became a social justice person.” He also decided, against some long odds, to pursue higher education.
Flores admitted to being surprised at first by the encouragement he received at the Adelphi University School of Social Work in spite of his difficult past, claiming so many professors have pushed him academically and urged him to write essays and apply for scholarships, including the Rita Paprin Memorial Scholarship, which he won in Spring 2014. “It was a humbling experience and continues to be,” he said.
“It’s crazy. At one point, the world didn’t want to deal with me,” Flores reflected. “And now it’s like I’ve got these amazing people who have already achieved what I want to get to, supporting me.”
Nonetheless, his success speaks for itself, and having been on the Dean’s List for most of his time as an undergraduate, he is closer than ever to his goal of working in social policy. “I’m going for my Ph.D.,” he said. “That’s the only way politicians listen! I have to.”
Since taking classes at Adelphi’s Manhattan Center, Flores has been working with less-privileged young boys in a therapeutic program designed to keep them out of prison.
Eventually, he hopes to evaluate and change how policies are implemented.
“Who knows?” he said. “Maybe one day my great-great grandchildren will have to read about me because it’s a mandatory lesson. You never know.”
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