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MCC Fosters Confidence in Blind Man

November 11, 2018

Despite being legally blind, and suffering a series of personal difficulties and hardships, Middlesex Community College alum Earl Williams never lost focus on pursuing his dream to become an advocate for children.

The 45-year-old Lowell resident recently graduated with an Associate degree in Liberal Arts & Sciences with a Psychology concentration, and plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Psychology at UMass Lowell.

In 2014, while working for the IRS, Williams enrolled at MCC hoping to advance his career by furthering his education. He ended up discovering his true calling.

Through the Office of Disability Support Services, Williams received special accommodations for his visual impairment, and he began to succeed academically.

He then decided to commit to earning a college degree and helping children involved with the foster-care system -- something with which he’s quite familiar.

Williams fostered and adopted his second son, Kevin, which sparked his interest in helping underprivileged children.

“I felt I could provide a safe and nurturing home full of love and guidance,” he said.

His extraordinary commitment did not go unnoticed. In 2014, Williams received the Merrimack Valley Department of Children & Families Foster Parents of the Year Award.

He also knew something about being a disadvantaged child. Growing up in Miami, Williams was abused at home, and eventually removed and enrolled in a school for the blind, an event he now considers his saving grace.

“In a very real way, that boarding school saved my life,” he said.

As an adult, Williams experienced discrimination because of his disability, as well as for his sexual orientation. He moved to Lowell in 2004 to build a new life. The legalization of gay marriage in Massachusetts gave him hope he’d be able to live the life he always aspired to, rather than enduring continual intolerance.

His positive experience at Middlesex empowered Williams to stay on course and continue working toward his dream.

“I now know my calling is working with children who need strong advocates in their lives,” he said.

During his time at MCC, Williams was very engaged. He was selected to be one of two student speakers to address the Class of 2018 at commencement exercises. He also worked with Disability Support Services, the TRIO program and the Academic Center for Excellence.

“Middlesex has been more than just my community college,” Williams said. “It has also been my family. MCC has been instrumental in my growth as a student.”

Williams hopes to continue his education all the way to earning a doctorate in Psychology.

He feels he’s leaving Middlesex “a compassionate and more enlightened human being.”

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