Rodney Long Jr. lives by the motto, “If you’re looking for an excuse, you’ll find one. ” It is through this worldview in which he has been able to overcome a life of hardships and live a life of purpose and calling.

Born to drug-addicted parents in a crime-riddled neighborhood, Rodney was often absent from school, missing 100 days in the eighth grade and being sent to juvenile detention for truancy. He lived with two separate families through high school while his parents were incarcerated then returned to live with them after they were released and became youth pastors at a local church.

Through the grace of God and the support of teachers, family, and friends, he made it to college. After failing out of college his first year due to poor grades, he worked hard to return to school. After graduating with his bachelor’s degree in social work from Malone University, he went on to earn his master’s degree in social work from Case Western Reserve University.

He has broken the chains of generational poverty and addiction by remaining true to his calling of service to others and commitment to faith. His story is one of personal responsibility and how with the support of others and hard work, you can change your life.