Growing up in Pomona, Calif., a community 30 miles east of Los Angeles, Argosy University, San Francisco Bay Area alum Vincent Fuqua at first had a pleasant childhood. Although his parents did not work and relied on welfare to raise their five children, most of Fuqua's extended family lived on his street and they supported each other. Over time, however, drugs began to creep into his once-idyllic neighborhood, and some of Fuqua's family members became involved in drugs and gang life, breaking the familial bond and creating tension. Crack dealing increased more and more in the neighborhood, and gangs started to develop as well. Drive-by shootings became a daily staple.
Wanting to escape the turmoil at home, Fuqua moved 400 miles away to San Francisco, where he attended San Francisco State University and received a bachelor's degree in psychology. "It took me awhile to finish, but I was determined to get a degree, no matter what obstacles came in the way," says Fuqua. "Although I was pleased that I received my bachelor's degree, I was saddened by the loss of my mother in 1995, so I didn't receive my college degree until several years later."
Ever since moving to San Francisco, Fuqua, who works in the City's Department of Public Health AIDS Office, has been doing some type of work helping people - leading a support group for gay youth, doing peer counseling, or getting involve with HIV prevention. While performing community service, Fuqua realized that he enjoys helping people and decided to go back to college for master's degree in counseling.
Fuqua started classes at Argosy University, San Francisco Bay Area in September 2001 and received a Master in Counseling Psychology in October 2003.
"I first applied to San Francisco State University for my master's degree, and took a couple of classes, but the program there never felt right for me," explains Fuqua. "One day I received a flyer about Argosy University, San Francisco Bay Area, and while reading the flyer, I thought the school just felt right." The thought that it was a smaller school was a bonus, and Fuqua felt that he would be challenged more and would have the opportunity to grow.
Fuqua always knew that he wanted to help people, but not in what capacity. Now, as a counselor for the City and County of San Francisco Department of Public Health, he is contributing to the wellness of other people's lives, just by being there for them.
"I believe that my Argosy University, San Francisco Bay Area education enabled me to understand people better and apply the skills to the different aspects of my job. Because of my education, I have become more confident in speaking in front of people, and I found that I am taking on new challenges that I do not think I would have done before."