Beyond Emancipation

Ronney and Rodney

ronney-rodney Ronney and Rodney may not be very familiar with their birth parents, but the level of playful familiarity between these identical twins is contagious. It seems they can’t stop joking with each other. For example, this exchange:

Rodney: So how did you know you was a twin, Ronney?
Ronney: I woke up one morning and saw that you had the same exact face as me, and I said, “Mommy, he has my face!” Naaahhh…

ronney-rodney_photostrip The twins’ joking about their identical appearance exemplifies their spunk and positive outlook. They have risen above circumstances that could easily have put them at risk. Their birth parents have played a role in their lives that was minimal at best and dangerously neglectful at worst. They don’t dwell on that however; instead, they choose to emphasize the hard work it took their maternal grandparents to raise them along with their siblings and cousins. In school, Ronney often found himself on a slower learning curve than his classmates. However, he wasn’t about to let a learning disability get in his way. “I knew what I wanted in life was to be successful. Because every day I looked out on the streets and I knew that’s not where I wanted to be.” During their senior year, the twins found ILSP and B:E’s college preparation and support activities especially useful. Rodney said, “It was all very helpful: receiving grants, going on the college tour to scope things out, see where you want to go, what field you want to take.”

After high school, Ronney and Rodney decided to go to college together. Enrolled at Virginia State University, they even share the same major: Criminal Justice. They remain confident about their goals for the future, and have these words of wisdom to pass on to foster youth who are preparing to leave the system. “Your future is a lot greater than your past, so if you hold your head up high, if you have a dream, then you will accomplish it. Just don’t let ordinary life stop you.”