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The Watts community is working together to help a first-generation high school graduate achieve his dream of attending college after being denied financial aid. 

Marveon Mabon is a fourth-generation resident of the Imperial Courts public housing project in the city of Watts. He lives with his mother and six out of his nine siblings. 

Mabon was accepted to Morehouse College, private historically Black men’s college in Atlanta, Georgia.

“Morehouse is about community, Black excellence. This is what I value to my core. This is my dream school,” Mabon said.

He says he was denied needs-based financial aid after his high school failed to send the proper paperwork to the colleges he applied to.

Stacy Twilley, co-founder of GreenSpacesLA, met Marveon through their volunteer work and decided to help by starting a GoFundMe page on his behalf.

“He really gives back here, he’s known as the guy who’s giving back,” Twilley said. 

Mabon doesn’t just volunteer at Children Mending Hearts, he also works on anti-bullying campaigns and with LAPD on some community safety programs. 

“We just all kind of felt like the community needed a way to give back to him now,” Twilley said. 

Others in the community say Mabon has dedicated so much of his time and effort to help bring coronavirus relief and food security to residents, as well as build the Watts Community Garden that grows fruits and vegetables for the community. 

When his high school finally sent the proper paperwork, it was over two months too late for him to be considered for financial aid for Morehouse College, Mabon said. 

Although Mabon tried to fix the deadline issue with his high school and the financial aid office, all of the financial aid has already been awarded to other students and he says there is nothing left for him. 

The GoFundMe campaign set up in his honor had raised more than $70,000 as of Wednesday night. 

Mabon will be the first in his family to graduate high school and the first to go to college.