When you think of the homeless, a six-foot-five-inch teenage basketball player doesn’t necessarily come to mind. But Jeremiah Armstead is just that, and he’s trying to get into college.
Jeremiah is at ease on the basketball court in Watts. What’s more challenging is that the 18-year-old, his younger brother, sister and mom are now at a domestic violence shelter, rescued from living in their car — again.
“Coming out to California my sophomore year we were living in a hotel or we were in our car for a few days,” Jeremiah said. “Sleeping at beaches in our car.”
Jeremiah spent his senior year at Long Beach Polytechnic High School where he just graduated. Then came the community leaders the Sisters of Watts, who saw a bigger vision.
Sisters of Watts’ Keisha Daniels made the call to the non-profit Educated Brilliant Minds, which helps kids get into HBCUs — historically Black colleges and universities. Thanks to their organization’s Stephen Bernstein, Jeremiah was accepted to Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee.
Jeremiah’s mom Mindy Brooks calls it “a divine intervention.”
This list of those who chipped in to help the teen is long. His coach gave him his basketball shoes. The Do Good Daniels Family Foundation opened its shelter doors to the family two weeks ago. On Saturday the non-profit A Time To Mentor jumped in with a $1,000 scholarship. Grant money for Fisk University came in, but the Sisters of Watts are still trying to raise more than $15,000 for his schooling. They put out an all-call for donations, saying every dollar counts.
“I’m gonna miss him,” Brooks said. “I’m a phone call away.”