Home » Admin » Wave Weekly » Derrick Dunlavy joins brother as JU grad after spending part of childhood in foster care

Derrick Dunlavy joins brother as JU grad after spending part of childhood in foster care

He and his brother spent part of their childhoods at the Boys Home next to Jacksonville University, and now both have graduated from JU.

2012 JU graduate Derrick Dunlavy, who went into foster care at age 6, wants his 3-year-old son, Caden, to have a better childhood than he had.

Derrick Dunlavy is the subject of a “One of Us” column by Florida Times-Union writer Charlie Patton in the Tuesday, Dec. 18, issue of the paper, in which his journey from foster care starting at age 6 to successful student is chronicled.

His brother, Mike Dunlavy, graduated from JU in 2004, and 28-year-old Derrick received his bachelor’s degree from JU on Saturday, Dec. 15.

From the article:

(Derrick Dunlavy) did get a two-year degree from what was then Florida Community College at Jacksonville and enrolled a couple of times at the University of North Florida, only to drop out each time.

He finally resumed his higher education at JU about 2½ years ago. Finishing the course work has been a struggle since he holds a full-time job as an area manager for LAZ Parking and is a divorced father with custody of his 3-year-old son, Caden. Now he plans to take a couple of semesters off before going back to JU for a master’s in business administration.

He’s also decided to become actively involved with Florida’s Children First, an advocacy group, and Voices for Children, which promotes and supports the Guardian ad Litem program.

“When I was young, I didn’t have any vision,” he said. “If there’s one thing I want to get out of this, I want to give the message to kids in the foster care system that if you keep trying and keep believing, you’ll succeed.”

Read the entire article by clicking here.