Jerry Goss

Last updated: 2017

Jerry Goss

2017 Beat the Odds Honoree

For the first 11years of his life, Jerry Goss grew up in what is known as one of the toughest housing projects in San Francisco. But to him, it was home - a loving environment that he shared with his mother who didn't have much but what she did have, she gave generously to him and neighbors who were even less fortunate. This was the happiest time in Jerry's life. His mother's daily kindness and compassion for others inspired him. But his life changed dramatically when one day, he went into cardiac arrest.

Following a heart transplant surgery and a month-long coma, Jerry awakened with limited mobility and learned that social services had declared his mother unfit to raise him. Jerry's father, who he had not heard from or seen in three years, gained custodial rights and moved Jerry to Los Angeles to live with him and Jerry's grandmother. But home life was often tense. His father would also disappear for days at a time, leaving Jerry to take care of his bedridden grandmother. Because of his father's long absences, Jerry was placed in foster care.

Although Jerry missed most of the 5th grade, he was able to progress to 6th grade with no difficulty. Today, Jerry is thriving and overcoming every obstacle placed in front of him. In addition to maintaining a 4.0 GPA, Jerry is active in various clubs and activities, including Robotics, Mock Trial, and TEDxYouth, a school organization focused on uplifting youth initiatives. With encouragement from his friends, his supportive foster mother and his desire to succeed, Jerry plans to become an electrical engineer.