PETERSBURG, Va- (WRIC) – A young woman who beat some astonishing odds will be among Virginia State University graduates this spring. Twenty-three-year-old Kimberly Edmonds-Best has been homeless for the past six years.
College level classes may have been the least of her worries as she often wondered what she’d eat and where she’d sleep.
Edmonds-Best grew up in Prince George and says she and her mom lost their home when she was in the 11th grade. The stigma from a life of homelessness is what she remembers most.
“My teachers growing up told me that I wouldn’t be anything, and I let that dictate me for so long,” she said. “It really had an effect on me. You really have to be careful what you say to children at a very young age because that will grow up with them whether they realize it or not. Consciously or subconsciously that is a seed that you plant.”
But Kimberly says a greater seed, inspired by her faith was planted in her heart.
“I have always been a dreamer,” she explained. “I just knew that I could always be something.”
Kimberly also recently reconnected with her father after more than 15 years. She says they’re working on rebuilding their relationship which also gives her added hope for the future.
“I want young people to see that no matter what life throws at you, there is nothing that you can’t accomplish. There’s is nothing that you can’t do.”
She enrolled at VSU in 2012 as a biology major, although she still didn’t have a place to call home.
“Even when it was holidays here on campus, like Christmas and Thanksgiving, I had to stay with different families,” she said.
The seemingly insurmountable challenges didn’t stop her. On May 15th, she’ll become a VSU graduate, but not before thanking professors who helped her along the way.
“I think she has done outstandingly well. I am really really proud of her. She has lots of dreams and ambitions,” said Biology Professor Regina Knight-Mason.
Edmonds-Best has had a journey filled with trial, but it’s a story she’ll perhaps some day tell students of her own.
“I want young people to see that no matter what life throws at you, there is nothing that you can’t accomplish. There’s is nothing that you can’t do,” she said.