LOS ANGELES -- Joseph Merchain has been dealt many challenges in life, including homelessness. Yet the college student remains determined to succeed. A recent internship with the Los Angeles Rams is a career springboard for Merchain.
"That Rams game playoff was my first ever playoff. It was amazing because the energy of a playoff game compared to a regular season game was out this world. Out this galaxy. I was screaming so loud at the top of my lungs!" said Merchain.
For the 24-year-old South Los Angeles native, the Rams organization has been life changing.
The fall internship has helped him tackle homelessness, food insecurity, and has assisted him in gaining real workplace experience.
Just like in football, Merchain has taken many hits in life. Now, he's studying political science at Pasadena City College.
"My career aspiration is to eventually run for president of the United States of America," said Merchain.
What you wouldn't know is that Merchain is by all accounts still homeless, living in a room through Project Roomkey. He's lived in 32 foster homes and three group homes throughout his life.
Merchain said when he was 13, he ran away after suffering sexual abuse at the hands of a foster caretaker.
"I had to fend for myself, so I ended up living in Skid Row for about a month and half," he said.
He's never meet either of his parents and has never known the comfort of coming home to a safe, permanent house. But through it all, he's thriving.
"Just the driving force, I believe, it's my dedication and my yearning for success," said Merchain.
With the support of the nonprofit Brotherhood Crusade, Bank of America and the Rams, Merchain completed the 100-day internship in the Rams community affairs department. One he calls a life-changing opportunity and an experience he is most grateful for.
"I have been through too much to not become successful," said Merchain.
The cherry on top of a very big year for this inspiring young man, the fact that the Rams are contending to advance to the Super Bowl.