PHOENIX – In a city of more than a million people, the street can be a lonely place when you have nowhere to go and no one waiting for you at the end of the day. Bad things can happen to a 13-year-old boy trying to survive.
That was 41-year-old Morris Callaman's life as a teenager living in Acoma Park in Phoenix. Callaman had been given up for adoption when he was a toddler because his parents thought he was mentally retarded. He suffered severe physical abuse in foster care bouncing from family to family.
In 8th grade he ran away. "I know what it is to fight with your hands for your life," says Callaman.
During his time on the streets he saw things he still has trouble talking about. "There are drugs on the street, there are sexual favors on the street, there are predatory actions on the street," he says. The key to being successfully homeless, at least in the world according to Morris, is to be invisible, not to draw attention.
Things got so bad he tried to commit suicide several times. After years of feeling like no one cared, hope arrived in the form of a forklift driver named Russ. The two worked together on a construction site.
"He looked out for me, gave me assignments, made sure I was gainfully engaged," Callaman says. It literally changed my perception of being at risk of being a product of society. Instead I became a member of society."
It took one person who believed in Callaman to inspire him to get his GED then it was community college. He eventually earned four-college degrees and at the young age of 33 became a principal at the accounting giant Ernst and Young.
Since then the multimillionaire has brokered international business deals in Asia and now he wants to broker deal to change the world. "I'm looking for businesses like I have since I got back from Japan with the idea of a net societal benefit where the founders, the principals behind these companies are genuinely trying to do good things," he says.
He received food from the St. Mary's Food Bank back in those tough days when he was homeless and now it’s a place where he's given back, donating money to help the food bank expand. "I don't see myself as a success story or hero, I'm just getting started."
For more, go to Callaman Ventures.