Anthon Smith graduated from high school at 16, deferred his enrollment to college, moved to Malta, and worked with an organization serving homeless youth (one that Smith was managing by the time he turned 18).
By his 19th birthday, Smith had managed a homeless youth shelter, learned four languages, and was enrolled at the University of Malta (he earned two degrees there). On my 19th birthday, I was arrested in a bowling alley - the only bad thing about meeting Smith was recalling stuff like that.
A decade later, Smith is the program director of Seattle Education Access, an organization working to empower homeless youth in Seattle to pursue higher education.
"We provide our clients with whatever will support them to stay in school," says Smith. This means that Smith helps his clients do everything from pay for books to find housing. One of Seattle's most successful youth services, the SEA more than tripled its capacity in the past five years. Last year, it served 100 youth and obtained almost 50 scholarships.
"We see education as empowerment," says Smith.