“I grew up without a father and without any healthy male role models in my life. I looked up to gang members who I knew through school, who were older than me. I wanted to fit in and feel like I was part of something so I jumped into their gang at the age of thirteen. At first I found it exhilarating getting into gang fights, robbing people and stores, getting high on weed, cocaine and alcohol. But after a few years of doing the same thing almost every day it wasn’t fun anymore. I couldn’t go in public with my family or friends because gang members from opposite gangs were always trying to fight me or worse. I felt like I needed to get high on drugs and alcohol just to function daily.
One day I decided to go rob a store and in the process stabbed two people. Six months later at the age of nineteen I found myself on my way to prison. While incarcerated I became more violent and racist. Once out of prison I went back to what I knew which was the gang lifestyle and ended up back in prison a year later.
When I got out of prison the second time, I got away from the gangs, but I still felt empty inside and I was still using drugs and alcohol to try to ease the pain. For the next four years I was homeless going from one house to another, homeless shelters, cars, and sidewalks.
I knew if things were ever going to change I needed God to put me somewhere I could get help. That help came in July of 2014 when I entered Teen Challenge. Since being at Teen Challenge, and letting Jesus work in my life, He has restored my relationship with my family and they trust me and are happy when they see me now. I know now that when I feel angry, depressed, or fearful, to run to Jesus and pray. I am now enrolled in a year-long Bible school learning to become an Advisor in Teen Challenge so I can be used to reach others like myself with this His great news. I am so thankful to everyone who supports this ministry for allowing me this opportunity to know the Lord.”