From the president

Valentine Thomas, a first-generation college student at Barry University, is passionate about helping at-risk youth achieve success in school while striving to reach their full potential. He understands the need for requisite resources to reduce risk factors and to combat conditions militating against young people in marginalized communities. Consequently, he has become deeply involved in the work of Breakthrough Miami, providing academic and social enrichment support to middle- and high-school students. A Barry Service Corps Fellow, Valentine participates in a program designed to cultivate civic-mindedness and to prepare students for future roles as agents of positive social change. His contributions to the program are commensurate with the benefits he has derived from it. Furthermore, Valentine is an ardent supporter of efforts designed to raise awareness about social justice issues such as food insecurity and hunger, and he has helped to promote the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ campaign for the fair treatment of laborers on farms throughout the United States. Additionally, as a student organization leader, he encourages civic engagement among his peers. After leading the way in resuscitating the dormant Bahamian Student Association, he was instrumental in ensuring that community service would become an integral part of the group’s activities.

Mike Allen


Barry University


Personal Statement

Growing up in The Bahamas, I was aware of the many ills within my community. As a middle school student, I faced peer pressure while also being challenged by my weak reading skills. Despite the challenges, I've always had a desire to achieve my best. I never saw myself as the product of my surroundings. I simply needed to be motivated and inspired. In high school, Mr. Zonicle came into my life. He came as my carpentry teacher, but he became much more. He became a positive role model and my mentor, providing me with the motivation I needed to succeed. Mr. Zonicle ignited my self-belief and provided the inspiration that I did not get at home or in my community. Once I started to believe in myself, I started to pull away from negative influences and began to make better decisions. Through Mr. Zonicle’s mentorship, I saw the world differently. Now that I’m in college, I am passionate about empowering youth, particularly at-risk youth, so that they can believe in themselves, go after their dreams, and become the best of who they’re meant to be.

Valentine Thomas


Barry University