Former homeless veteran and mother of six becomes 1st-generation college graduate

Not everyone starts out with the same advantages in life, some people have all the odds stacked against them and yet defy all expectations to succeed in the most exceptional way.

LaKendra Mackey sacrificed her life to serve her country enlisting in the U.S. Navy where she served for 10 years.

But with PTSD she found herself homeless and struggling.

Thankfully she was accepted to University of Arkansas Little Rock where she was connected with the TRIO Pre-College programs which assist low-income and first-generation youths, adults, and veterans to enroll in and complete a further program.

“TRIO has helped in a lot of ways to stay afloat in my courses,” she said, as per Fox News.

“The advisors let me talk to them and give me a sense of relief that it’s just not me. They take your small successes, and they make it into a big deal.”

Former homeless veteran, mother of 6 to become UA-Little Rock  first-generation graduate |

Now, despite all the obstacles, LaKendra is showing her six children how with determination and self-belief you can achieve anything.

LaKendra is set to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in May 2021.

Her experiences facing homelessness, PTSD and raising a child with special needs has inspired her to become a social worker to help others.

She also wants her experiences and achievements to inspire her own children.

LaKendra Mackey’s own experiences of facing homelessness, PTSD, and raising a child with special needs inspired her to become a social worker to help others.

Posted by FOX 2 Detroit on Friday, November 20, 2020

“I feel like I have to prove that I have a right to be here because of my age, my race, my gender, everything,” she said. “I am showing my daughter and my sons that you shouldn’t let obstacles stop you from achieving a degree.

“I feel that having a degree will assist me and my children in having a better quality of life,” she added.

Mackey is on track to graduate and plans to enter UA Little Rock’s Master of Social Work program next fall.

LaKendra Mackey
UA Little Rock

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