Happy Headline: From Homeless To Harvard
A homeless veteran who proudly served in Iraq and Afghanistan can now say that she is on track to be a Harvard University grad. Alicia Watkins who risked her life for the freedom of others, appeared on The OWN Network’s “Oprah: Where Are They Now?,” to share the wonderful news. Watkins, who survived the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon, let the mogul’s crew document her life as a homeless veteran for “The Oprah Winfrey Show” in 2010. At the time, she was calling a cardboard box full of microwavable meals and snacks her kitchen. She slept in a car that she rented for $10 a day. Various airport hotel toilets acted as Watkins’ restroom.
Watkins had housing at one point, but gave it to a homeless mother of three. A lot has changed since then. In a video sent to “Oprah: Where Are They Now?,” Watkins disclosed that her life has changed for the better. Until her 2010 appearance, her family had no idea that she was homeless. “I had alienated myself from everyone,” she stated in the video. “They really were shocked when they found out, and they were also just hurt by the fact that I was suffering.”
Watkins soon moved in with a family friend after the show, but her many health issues prevented her from being able to work. Watkins has post-traumatic stress disorder, a traumatic brain injury and a spinal cord injury. Despite her setbacks, she’s still achieved a major goal: attending Harvard University.
“I wanted to be able to care for wounded warriors, and so I decided to apply to Harvard University. In 2012, I was accepted. My college expenses are paid by the G.I. Bill.” In addition to being enrolled at an Ivy League institution, Watkins has also found love. “I recently got engaged, on my birthday of all days,” she said in the video. “It is amazing.”
Outstanding, Ms. Watkins.
“Oprah: Where Are They Now?” airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on OWN