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Former foster care student achieves goal of graduating from college

Florida International University graduate Mary Brown speaks to WPTV in Sept. 2021.jpg
Posted at 11:32 AM, Sep 29, 2021

LAKE PARK, Fla. — Mary Brown, 22, is proud of what she has accomplished so far.

"I just graduated last month with my bachelor's degree in public administration. I also have a certificate in leadership. I work at PNC Bank as a bank teller," Brown said.

Brown graduated from Florida International University and has overcome many challenges. In 2014, WPTV met Brown when she was in foster care at Place of Hope. She shared why she was no longer in her family's home.

"There's a lot of violence and drug abuse in my home," Brown said in 2014.

Brown stayed in foster care until she aged out, not giving up on her dream to go to college. She said her foster care parents helped her.

"The family aspect that you have there, like being part of a family. Being able to feel like you belong and actually growing and developing bonds," Brown said.

Now Brown is in the Villages of Hope Campus for Young Adults.

"Mary is an example of someone who came in at 11 years old and has stayed through and has developed and has blossomed into an amazing young lady," said Jamie Bond, the director of advanced development at Place of Hope.

Brown wants to inspire others and aspires one day to work in human resources.

"Whether it's your voice or whatever the situation might be. There is something that you have, I promise everybody has something. That little thing that sparks a light within you. That is your gift. Hold on to it allow it to develop. Use it every chance that you get. Always be there to inspire other people and allow yourself to grow," Brown said.

A young woman who is not giving up.

"Heal while you have the chance, while the resources are there. Take advantage of every resource and opportunity is being given to you and learn how to capitalize on it to better yourself and to go help others," Brown said.