Grad Cheats Death, Now Helps Philly Youth
I Put 100% Into My Time at Orleans.
“Shot Twice in the Head But Far From Dead” is a book written by Maurice, a 26-year-old from Mt. Airy, Philadelphia, who suffered a near fatal head injury five years ago when he was shot two times in the head following an altercation with someone he knew in his own neighborhood.
“There was a lot of peer pressure there. I got wrapped up in the wrong crowds. It was a snowball effect, it went from bad to worse. The drugs and lifestyle made me feel as though I was invincible.”
Maurice was left paralyzed with major brain damage. While in the hospital there was an error made causing a life-threatening infection that left him in a coma for three months. Doctors warned that Maurice might not live, but he beat his odds.
“When I woke up, I realized I had a second chance. This is my chance to talk to the youth to get them to turn around so they don’t have to hit that brick wall like I did.”
Maurice had to re-learn how to walk, speak, communicate and think for himself again. It took years of rehab to regain everything he had before the shooting. His body remained barely functional, but through time his physical capabilities grew. While stuck in a wheelchair he decided to write his stream-of-conscience book about being a juvenile delinquent living a reckless and criminal life.
When he was ready to begin working, Maurice’s Mom learned about a training program taught at Orleans Technical College. There, Maurice received help with school funding through the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation. He completed the career diploma program with a 3.86 GPA. During the internship phase of the program, Maurice practiced his new skills, working with families and youth members of the Family and Youth Service Bureau. He also sharpened his leadership skills.
“I put my 100 percent into it. After I graduated my Mom said she was happy that’s all behind us. She said ‘so keep going, don’t go back.'”
During his time at Orleans Tech, Maurice took great advantage of its career services department, which assisted him in re-entering the workforce. Maurice’s constant enthusiasm also helped him gain immediate employment after his graduation. Maurice was hired by The Bridge in May 2016 and currently works as a Youth Mentor. (He is one of the ten Orleans graduates hired by The Bridge since 2009). The Bridge is a behavioral treatment and youth opportunity program that assists adolescents and their families who face problems concerning mental health and physical well-being.
“I’m like a big brother to a bunch of kids. I give them my story so they can see that the way they are going is not where they want to be.”
Maurice was honored with an Inspiration Award on November 9, 2016, by Orleans’ parent organization, JEVS Human Services. Despite his trauma, Maurice continues to use his story to generate positive change among his mentees and others who undergo daily struggles. His greatest source of motivation to live and be well is his son, Dior.
“I tell my son every day, every hour, ‘I love you D’ and let’s get through this together.”
— Maurice Young, Orleans Tech Graduate, Class of 2016