“I have always lived by the saying ‘stars cannot shine without darkness.’ The people I have met at CHS helped me turn on my light so I was able to shine through the darkness to get through those tough patches in life.”
Tim Only, a rising senior at Florida State University, says he will always remember the impact Children’s Home Society of Florida had on his life. “Without CHS, I would not have graduated high school, I would not be alive and talking to you right now… those big things I will always remember; they will always be a part of my journey, in my book of life.”
Once a hopeless young man caught in a dangerous, dysfunctional childhood, Tim found new hope when he found Children’s Home Society of Florida and the resources offered by the Community Partnership School at Evans High School. He found the inner strength to turn odds into opportunities, eventually becoming senior class president and a member of the National Honor Society; now a student at FSU, he’s focused on his next step in graduate or law school. He credits much of his success to the support he received through CHS and the Hub at Evans.
“I was a smart kid with a bad temper. The thing I was missing was love and someone who wanted to push me. School was my safe haven. Home was hell. Drugs, pain pills, anger. I remember when I heard 75 gunshots coming through the house, windows busted, glass everywhere … I was this close to dying that night. I took advantage of every program this school had and became senior class president, got involved in the Senate Page program with CHS and received multiple scholarships for college.”
CHS continues to support Tim on his journey to a brighter future by awarding him the Virginia Morey Rell Memorial Scholarship, helping him achieve his educational goals and continue to build bridges to success.
“To me, this scholarship is a stepping stone – it is another layer of cement that has been laid down on my foundation. As I get a little older and wiser, things get a little different. I am more independent as an adult in the world – it is a great stepping stone to help me achieve certain things I need to be successful.”
Last year, Tim traveled to South Africa, an opportunity he says opened his eyes to greater challenges outside of those he knew in his childhood. “Taking the trip to South Africa opened my eyes to bigger issues– taking the time to visit somewhere else other than my home made me want to do more. I know I can take this criminal law degree and use it in all different places and different aspects of life.”
His experience with CHS has influenced his passion for nonprofit work. He aspires to create the world he wants to see, describing a future in educational leadership, and advocating for changes in laws and policies. He often feels pulled toward a future in social work, describing how it feels to know he is still supported by CHS.
“It feels great to know people still believe in me – it is a great feeling to know you still have support from others and that they still believe in you.”