Tyrone Poole’s father wasn’t part of his life. Instead, he found acceptance running with a gang, a path that led him to prison. While incarcerated, Tyrone became a father himself. “My greatest fear was that my son would hate me,” he recalls. “He was my motivation to do better.” After his release, Tyrone started driving a taxi. He and his wife now have three children – two sons and a daughter – and he works full-time as a truck driver.
Tyrone wanted more for himself and his family, however. He started at Gateway in 1998, but found going to school, working, and raising a young family “overwhelming.” In 2018, Tyrone, then 46, gave college another go – and found success. A Human Services major, he plans to transfer to SCSU when he completes his associate degree, hopefully in 2022. His goal is to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and work with ex-offenders.
‘My mistakes aren’t my tragedy… they’re part of my armor.’Tyrone Poole
Tyrone takes nine credits a semester and works full time, but still makes time to volunteer in prisons, mentoring young offenders. “They can relate to me,” he explains. “I don’t use my mistakes as a tragedy. They’re part of my armor; they made me stronger.”
Tyrone believes he is helping to destroy the “generational curse” of being a young Black man growing up without a father.
He is proud of his children. His oldest, now 25, also drives trucks. His youngest, a 19-year-old daughter, is a student at Gateway. And his 20-year-old son attends Dean College. Tyrone is currently doing his homework on an iPad, which he shares with his younger son, also distance learning from the family’s New Haven home. Tyrone plans to use his $250 GCC Foundation scholarship to help buy a much-needed laptop.