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Continued: Scoggins: Maple Grove soccer player 'so happy' to make Italy trip

  • Article by: CHIP SCOGGINS , Star Tribune
  • Last update: June 22, 2013 - 8:24 AM

BK lives with his older sister in Brooklyn Park, but he has his own bedroom in the Thomas’ home. He accompanies them on vacations and spends holidays with them. They buy him clothes, help him with bills, take him to church.

BK needed a ride to referee youth soccer games in another suburb one day last week. None of his friends was available so he called Chad.

On my way, Chad told him. BK hung up and cried.

“It just shows how good they are to me because I know they don’t have to do that,” he said. “I don’t feel like I’m here without a dad or parents. I feel like I’m part of a family.”

He doesn’t take that for granted, either. A kid who has witnessed the worst in society has thrived in his new environment. He’s taking mostly Advanced Placement classes. This summer he’s coaching a youth soccer team and participating in Upward Bound, a federally funded program that prepares students for college.

He interviewed this week for a position on a youth leadership council in Brooklyn Park. He’s organized packing parties at Feed My Starving Children because he ate that food in his refugee camp.

“I believe what people have given me is more than I ever expected so giving back to the community was something that means a lot to me,” he said. “Coming from a refugee camp, I know how those meals helped us.”

His goal is to earn multiple college degrees, and he dreams of working for the United Nations some day.

“The main reason I’m here is to graduate and go to college,” he said. “I’m going to go for my Ph.D. If there’s a level higher than Ph.D., I will go for it. I want to go as far as I can.”

No one should doubt him.

“He’s going to change the world,” Chad Thomas said. “We wanted to give him opportunities to do that because that’s all he needs.”

 

Chip Scoggins ascoggins@startribune.com

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