A teenager from the Bronx was brought down from the audience on the Ellen DeGeneres Show to share his story of a rough upbringing, but as Ellen would have it, she surprised Angel Perez with $20,000 to pursue his college education and career.
On Monday, November 25, Perez shared his story with the world of taking care of his three younger siblings and fluctuating between foster homes until the siblings eventually being separated during those hard times.
The happy ending detailed Perez’s foster father, Manuel, surprising the kids by adopting them all, bringing them together once again under one roof.
Perez then shared with Ellen that he aspires to be a journalist in the future and build a life for his entire family.
Bronx Times had a chance to speak with Perez after his appearance on the Ellen Show about his experience.
“I had a supervisor in high school who contacted the Ellen Show because she knew Ellen likes to help out people who have gone through hardships,” Perez said. “So it’s the next year, I’m in college, they called me, flew me out there, called me out of the audience and it was just amazing.”
Perez is now a freshman at SUNY College in Albany with a major in communications and a minor in business.
Perez said he decided he wanted a career as a reporter due to his outgoing personality and passion for others.
“I want to be a reporter because my personality and the way I interact with others,” he said. “My passion and drive pushed toward a career in communications whether it’s a reporter job or something in the entertainment industry.”
However, he remembers the times when he was taking care of his entire family, including his biological father who fell ill for awhile.
Perez and his younger siblings Joshua, Justin, and Kevia were left to fend for themselves, with Perez in charge.
Once the school noticed the drop in their attendance, NYC Department of Social Services was called and that’s when the kids were separated, he recalled.
Perez and his brother Joshua bounced between foster homes in Harlem and Brooklyn while the two younger siblings, Justin and Kevia, lived in foster care in Soundview.
Perez and Joshua finally landed with their now adopted father, Manuel, in Hunts Point.
After working out the kinks with the landlord and finding space to accommodate all four siblings, Manuel began the adoption process. Angel was graduating fifth grade when Manuel surprised the two older siblings by revealing the two younger siblings would once again be all together under one roof.
To watch the clip featuring Perez on the Ellen Show, please visit: www.ellen