Meet Cornelius: The Power of Peers
Cornelius Williams never intended to pursue a higher education until his best friend – Peer Leader Ashley Daniels – came along.
Even though I had a 4.3 GPA and played football, I had no aspiration to go to college. I was cutting yards and worked on some big contracts with my dad. I figured I’d just stay in Miami and start my own business. College just didn’t seem worth it to me. What was I going to do there?
Then my best friend, Ashley R. Daniels, became a Peer Leader. She came back from her PeerForward summer workshop at Nova Southeastern University telling me how amazing it was. I was pretty jealous of her, to be honest.
She kept telling me about her experience, and how PeerForward helped her with applications, personal statements and financial aid. I had no idea about any of this. She asked me “What’s stopping you from going to college? If lawn mowing doesn’t work out what will you do?”
She literally sat me in front of my computer and helped me fill out an application for the University of South Florida. She even said if I got in she would go there with me. I graduated from University of South Florida in 2014 and went off to volunteer with PeerForward. I’ve been volunteering with them ever since.
At every workshop, I say to Peer Leaders: “I am a product of PeerForward.” I say that not because I was in the program, but because I am the ripple effect. I tell them “Imagine the world as a big bucket of water, and you’re that drop, each and every one of you, and you create ripples of change.”
Ashley changed my whole perspective. She understood my true value and what I could achieve if I put my mind to it. That’s why I come back and serve.
She’s still my best friend.