He had overwhelming obstacles to overcome and he did it. This holiday season, no one else may give this young man a gift, but he's giving himself one he will never forget.
"I was expected to be in the penitentiary, homeless or at Rusk State Hospital locked up," says Tyrone Obaseki.
To say the odds were stacked against him is an understatement.
"There were times when I thought I was going to commit suicide," he goes on to say, "Once I aged out of care I was homeless. In care I was over medicated. I was physically abused. I went through several foster homes. Before I was eight I had already been in five different psychiatric hospitals."
Obaseki went into foster care when he was only two-months old and was never adopted.
"It was just a rough childhood. I felt rejected." He was bounced around from home to home his whole life. "I was labeled mentally retarded."
It's all well-documented in Obaseki's file, but apparently he didn't get the memo.
He was determined to have a positive future.
"There are too many people who have an avaricious mentality, it's all about themselves. It's all about what they can gain. Somebody has to step back and say hey I'm fighting for the children. I am going to stand up and be the example and show our youth you can weather the vicissitudes of life," says Obaseki.
At 18 years old he "aged out" of the system and was on his own. He was homeless and in college.
"There was one night where I made up my mind this is not the end. My tomorrow is going to be better".
Less than 60 percent of kids in foster care graduate high school. So Obaseki's accomplishments are definitely worth taking notice. Not only did he finish high school, Obaseki has a degree from Texas A & M Commerce and on Saturday?
"Saturday is going to be an awesome moment. I am going to walk across the stage with a masters of arts in counseling," says Obaseki with a smile.
The 26-year-old Obaseki is now about to graduate with a master's degree. He works as a caseworker at CPS.
"Some days I do have to wake up and as I'm putting my tie on I have to encourage myself and say hey today is a good day."
In addition to being your own cheerleader Obaseki, who's also a motivational speaker, encourages youngsters to find inspiration somewhere. He says at age seven while living in an orphanage he watched the movie "Lean On Me" and never forgot the uplifting words.
"If you want to be somebody, if you want to go somewhere you have to wake up and pay attention. I had to wake up and realize it doesn't matter what happened yesterday I had the freedom to choose what's going to happen tomorrow. I really believe my past prepared me for my future. Sometimes it's funny because sometimes your misery can become your ministry," explains Obaseki.
He hopes you too will help encourage kids in foster care by becoming a mentor. It won't cost you any money, only your time and support. Find out how here http://cpsmentors.com/. Find me on Facebook or Twitter @DamaliKeithFOX.