Alan still remembers the quizzical looks from fellow freshmen when he showed up on campus in ill-fitting thrift-store duds, sporting a bad haircut he gave himself with an $8 clipper from Walmart because he couldn’t afford a barber.
He says he took to the streets as a teenager to escape an abusive home life. He survived for three years by sleeping on the ground outside a library, showering in his high school gym, eating leftovers from the school cafeteria and washing his clothes under an outdoor spigot at a 7-Eleven store.
Alan’s story, and his plans for the future, have won him fans around the city, from UA President Ann Weaver Hart, who calls him “an inspiration,” to the residents of Gospel Rescue Mission’s homeless men’s shelter, where Alan volunteers delivering donated produce to the kitchen.