The first thing you notice about Victory is his wonderful smile. It’s an immediate indication of the person he is: warm and well-mannered with an adventurous spirit. “When I was two or three, my mom started calling me ‘the wandering man’ because I would always follow my brothers and sisters and never sit still.”
I met Victory at the Hub, Urban Ventures’ tricked out meeting place for its high school youth program. Victory “Vic” Spencer Trent George quietly and thoughtfully, yet easily told me about his life. He is one of 12 children raised by a caring, tenacious, single mom. We laughed as he struggled to remember the ages of all his siblings. At 15, he is the second youngest child.
Growing up in the George household was difficult at times. “There were so many people in the house!” But Vic’s mom, Patricia, somehow kept things going as they moved from place to place. Victory tears up when he talks about his mom. “She would smile and make like everything was happy, but I could see on her face that she had her own struggles. We may not have gotten Christmas presents, but she gave us as much as she could.”
And they spoke of the Bible. Patricia could “talk for an hour” about Jesus. He listened with interest, but couldn’t resolve his surroundings with a loving God. “How can God allow the people He created to to suffer?”
Enter a substitute teacher who urged Vic to attend Urban Ventures’ Young Life. His adventurous spirit kicked in and he decided to try it. “Right off I could feel the atmosphere. It’s so loving and chill.”
Friendships formed at Urban Ventures are important to Victory. “They make you feel comfortable. They don’t try to break bonds.” Attending summer camp helped Vic with his questions about God. “The counselors at camp helped me see that little things help the big issues—little things showed me He [God] is real.”
In ninth grade, around the same time Vic started attending Young Life, he began to take school more seriously. He had been a class clown, a troublemaker who liked to make people laugh. “I do enjoy making people laugh, but now I do it in a more productive way.”
The role of education in Victory’s life is core. He understands that education is his key to the future. He wants to get a degree in political science, and beyond that work with youth to “grow the future for the future.” Caring for his mom at home, making friends at Urban Ventures, studying hard at school, or working with youth in the future, that smile clearly beams out the message—with a supportive community a victory story is possible in any neighborhood.