Brothers Jovan and Marquis Turley are just over 1 year apart in age, having grown up together on Grand Rapids’ Southeast Side.
They played basketball together while attending Grand Rapids Catholic Central High School, and were both awarded scholarships to play basketball while in College at Dominican University in Chicago.
This June the brothers also accepted their College Diploma’s together.
The Turley brothers recently posted a Youtube video as a “thank you” to the people who have helped them succeed. A team of Mentors stepped in to help the boys after meeting them through an inner city basketball league.
At the time the boys were ages 8 and 10, they were being raised by their Aunt Barbara, living with five other children in a small home and with little means.
“If those people didn’t exist in my life today I would have never graduated from college, I would never have attended Grand Rapids Catholic Central,” Jovan Turley told FOX 17 News.
For Jovan it was the Cunningham Family from East Grand Rapids that became like a second family. Dr. Bill Cunningham and his wife invited Jovan over on the weekends, and took him along for Basketball Tournaments. Their son Casey and Jovan are the same age, and remain best friends today.
“Y’know God brought him and Marquis into our lives and for that we’ll always be thankful,” said Dr. Bill Cunningham.
A few years back Aunt Barbara died. Now when Jovan returns to Grand Rapids to visit, help coach basketball teams, or mentor other kids he stays with his mentor family.
This month the Cunninghams attended Marquis’ and Jovan’s Graduation Ceremony.
“Jovan’s our sixth child,” said Dr. Cunningham. “It’s just another member of the family and when he called me about needing some additional money for a graduation present I said the best graduation present you can give me is graduation.”
“There were always dreams,” said Turley. “But when you come from where I come from there’s always that doubt in the back of your mind that you might not make it. But when you have someone like Mr.Cunningham pushing you every day and giving you the willpower to succeed in life then you let go of that doubt and you know that the sky’s the limit.”
Jovan majored in Management. He is currently looking for his first job, and tells FOX 17 he hopes to follow Dr. Cunningham’s example and mentor Grand Rapids youth.
FOX 17 will feature Marquis Turley’s story in the coming weeks.