What do you do when you need water? Do you go grab a bottle out of the fridge? Run to the faucet? Or grab the hosepipe outside? No doubt, you answered yes to at least one, if not all, of these questions. But Fredrick Bailey couldn’t say the same.
As an elementary-aged student, Fredrick Bailey lived in survival mode. Life wasn’t about video games or playground time. It was about struggling in school and waiting on a downpour. He had little time for academic learning when he spent his afternoons waiting on rain to fill up his bucket so he could have water to drink and water to wash his clothes.
With a father and stepmother battling hardships at home, Fredrick rarely had life essentials. He lived without food and water, electricity, and decent clothes and shoes. His family never lived in the same house for more than a year. Coming home to see his belongings thrown on the side of the road was normal.
However, things took a slight turn for the better in 7th grade. Mrs. Cindy Bryant, the site coordinator for Communities in School (CIS) at Callaway Middle School, recognized that Fredrick needed glasses. CIS gave Fredrick his first pair of glasses and continued to support his academic and character growth. Fredrick began attending leadership classes, working with mentors, public speaking, and walking in parades simply enjoying all of the aspects of student life he had been missing out on.
But the best part of joining CIS came with the after school program. This program taught students life skills outside of the classroom and even provided students with transportation each afternoon. Little did Fredrick know, but the transportation driver, Jerome Cofield, would leave a lasting impression on Fredrick and become his number one fan for years to come.
Jerome Cofield took Fredrick under his wing. He made sure he arrived home safely from his after school program each day and even invited Fredrick to church. After attending church for a few weeks, Fredrick gave his life to Christ, but Fredrick thought that becoming a Christian meant life would be easier. He still needed to learn how his newfound faith would bring an all new perspective to the meaning of life and purpose.
Unexpected blessings were waiting just around the corner for Fredrick, though. Near the beginning of his high school career, he was able to move in with Jerome Cofield and his family. Fredrick’s new home provided him with the opportunity “to be successful, and succeed, and to dream big to work [his] way out.”
The Cofields were the reason Fredrick published his incredible narrative, Waiting on the Rain. After telling his story through CIS speaking competitions, the Cofields believed his story was worth publication. Fredrick began writing his story as a high school student, but would finish it later in college.
Fredrick graduated from Callaway High School with the HOPE Scholarship and attended Gordon State for two years. He became the President of the Student Government Association, President of the Student African American Brotherhood, a committee member with the job of interviewing a potential Vice President of Student Affairs, and a campus Resident Advisor. After graduating with an Associate’s from Gordon State, Fredrick went on to the University of West Georgia where he earned his Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education. It was during his senior year at UWG that Fredrick put the final touches on his book and published Waiting on the Rain.
Fredrick returned to Gordon State and worked with African American Male Initiative and worked as a student success coach. He also pursued a Master’s from the University of Phoenix in Adult Education. He now works at Georgia State College where he partners with the TRIO Program to build relationships with students and encourage their goals and provide support for their success. Fredrick described it as “mentoring, coaching, making sure they are successful, and providing resources.”
Fredrick hopes to earn his PhD from Georgia State in Public Relations and continue using his education and passion to inspire and cheer others on.
With an incredible story of survival and success, Fredrick wanted to give Troup County some advice. “Take advantage, not of the system, but of the resources and opportunities that are offered to help you be successful.” CIS, The Cofields, and his Christian faith were tools that motivated Fredrick to not only reach personal goals, but to help others reach their dreams as well. “We are so consumed with our daily lives that we forget about those [in need],” said Fredrick.
But there is one organization, relatively new to Troup County, which is designed specifically for those who are overlooked. Circles of Troup County held its first class in November of 2012, a class that reaches out to families struggling in poverty and provides them with life skills like budgeting, job success, and goal-setting. Sherri Brown, the Director of Circles of Troup County, explains the program as a strategy that “rewires” participants’ thought patterns. Rather than focusing on survival, moving from crisis to crisis, Circles provides classes that make participants set goals and live with a long term, dream-driven mentality.
Fredrick said that it is “great to have those funds and resources available” through Circles. He believes that success comes when individuals find the selfmotivation to use resources such as these, and while Fredrick realizes that success is never a quick story to fame, serving others along the way is possible.
From his restored relationships with his family all the way to his community and state-wide service, Fredrick’s “I know there’s better out there…and I’m going to get it”-mentality has led him out of the drought of poverty and into the downpour of service and success.
To purchase Fredrick Bailey’s story, Waiting on the Rain, contact him at www.Fredrickbailey.com or (678) 736-4177, and for more information on Circles of Troup County, contact Director Sherri Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website at www.circlesoftroup. org.
Peyton Hanners Staff Writer