A native of West Baltimore City, Van was a three-sport athlete at Loyola Blakefield high school in Towson, Maryland. In 2004, Van suffered a life altering spinal cord injury at the age of sixteen. Despite that he earned a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications from Towson University, and founded SAFE Alternative Foundation for Education nonprofit and the SAFE Center youth facility in West Baltimore City. His work there has led to him receiving many local and national accolades including the President’s Volunteer Service Award. Van’s work has also led him to being appointed by Governor Larry Hogan in 2017 where he served as the Director of the Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism. Today, Van has returned to SAFE fulltime and is also doing speaking engagements and consulting work.