I’ve known Teron for more than 10 years. I’m his son’s Godfather. But somehow, when I sat down to chat with him, I still found new reasons to appreciate this young man from Chicago.
When I got to Teron’s house, he was remodeling his attic. As a true mark of friendship, I do not offer to help.
Once Teron finally wraps up his work in the attic, we sit down at his kitchen table and laugh about our college years.
Teron and I met in the summer of 2006. We first crossed paths on Facebook and Myspace because, at that time, all the black kids at the University of St. Thomas friended each other online before ever meeting in-person. It seemed like we all knew we’d need as much community as we could possibly get. Teron and I almost instantly connected once we realized we both had Chicago roots.
Both of my parents were born and raised in Chicago and I spent many summers visiting family on Chicago west and south sides. Teron was born and raised in Chicago. He moved around a bit during his high school years before eventually moving up to Minnesota in 2004 to be with his mother and his two younger sisters.
By the time he arrived in Minnesota, his family had moved from a homeless shelter into transitional housing thanks to the work of People Serving People. The story of Teron and his family was so motivating and inspiring that they were featured in a special People Serving People video. Since Teron, at his core, is all about giving and serving, he now serves as one of the board of directors to the organization that helped him get a positive start in his new state.
As Teron and I continue to reminisce about college, we pause and thank his wife Dee--who’s sitting in the living room--for helping us actually graduate. Teron and Dee met and started dating before Teron started his first year. Because of their relationship and Dee’s stabilizing presence in our lives, Teron and I rarely found ourselves in bad situations or suffering the results of our poor choices, although it wasn’t for a lack of trying.
Immediately after graduating, Teron began working as an admissions counselor at the same university where we formed our friendship. Almost nine years later, he now serves as the associate director of admissions at the Dougherty Family College, a two-year college program within the University of St. Thomas. His work helps students with a high financial need earn an associate degree on the path toward receiving a four-year degree.
I ride with Teron as he picks up his two kids from daycare. I laugh as his son cracks jokes and tries to figure out how to fix his toy Transformer. I shudder as his daughter sings “Baby Shark” for what feels like the 450th hour.
When we get back to Teron’s house, I get out of the way as Teron and Dee quickly serve dinner and get the kids ready for a basketball game later that day. Dee and the kids head out as Teron prepares to continue working on the house they’ve made a home.