I got to know Russell better his senior year when he started applying to colleges and inquiring with our office about the process. Then I read an essay he wrote for one of his applications. Russell doesn't know who his dad is. His mom has been in jail several times, suffers from drug addiction, is homeless and lives under a bridge in south Austin. He lives with his 93 year old grandmother who has dementia and doesn't know who Russell is. Russell and his middle brother take care of her best they can. They feed, clothe, and bathe her. Russell says in his essay that "sometimes she gets very confused and will wake me up in the middle of the night asking to go home. I just tell her to go to bed, and that I’ll take her in the morning. By then, she forgets and continues another day of drinking coffee and watching old western movies. " Russell has called 911 'countless times' to save her life when she has wandered around the house in the middle of the night aimlessly for hours and falls down from exhaustion. He works as a waiter at night so he has money for personal expenses. Last year, Russell walked into his grandmother's home to find his oldest brother dead with a gunshot to the head - he had committed suicide. He is remarkably mature and accepting of his situation; he has come to the realization that his mother's circumstances will not change until she changes them so he is at peace - he goes to see her every Sunday morning and it "makes her day".