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Wilyem Cain

USC Student Committed to Helping Children

After his great-grandmother’s death, Wilyem Cain lost his way. Her death hit him hard and his attitude changed. “I was devastated,” the USC student said. “I was angry and negative.” And worst of all, he knew his great-grandmother wouldn’t approve.

At the suggestion of a family member, the Winnsboro native got involved in the local Boys and Girls Club, participating in the after-school program. When a seven-year-old asked to be his friend, the USC student soon realized his life had a purpose and that the kids saw him as role model. “If I had a bad attitude,” he said, “the kids had a bad attitude.”

Determined not to make that mistake, Wilyem made a complete turnaround, returning to the values taught to him by his great-grandmother, like kindness, generosity and an open heart. “I wanted to treat them (the children) the same way she treated me,” he said.

As his involvement deepened, Wilyem became a club leader. He served as a junior staff member and a program aid. He shared his passion for cooking and sports with the children and taught them valuable life lessons, such as determination and cooperation.

As a student, Wilyem has remained active in the organization. The political science major volunteers in Columbia-area clubs, helping to develop programs for teens and recruiting other USC students to help out. He was tapped by the United Way to speak during fundraising efforts. And, most importantly, when he has time, Wilyem returns to Winnsboro “just to let them know that I’m looking out for them.”

What’s more, USC’s supportive environment is a good fit Wilyem, a first-generation college student. “I’m really enjoying it here,” he said.

Wilyem has his eyes set on law school and ultimately working for the Boys and Girls Clubs or the United Way. He wants to remain a part of those organizations so he can be there to catch other kids if they fall.

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