"When I was born I was taken into care by my aunts and uncles whom I stayed with until the age of six, when I was placed back in the care of my mother. I stayed with my mother until I was seven or eight years of age, when she went to prison." Derrick then spent another few years in kinship care, and again placed with back with his mother. Due to the presence of his father, Derrick was removed and put into a foster care placement. He bounced around, living with family, in foster homes, with a coach, and eventually found a stable and permanent home. "They took me and loved me for me and I am very thankful for them. I know that I am a better person because of the values and morals they taught me and showed me through their everyday lives." Derrick has since graduated from Florida A&M University.
Derrick is not only a college graduate, but an active member of Florida Youth Shine. He is part of the state-wide board which focuses on creating the advocacy agenda for their lobby day on the state capitol.
Derrick enjoys reading books intended to help the reader better their own lives. He also listens to music as a stress reliever, and above all he enjoys helping others. "I am able to offer them hope and show them that there is light at the end of the tunnel."