It Isn’t Nothing Lovely

My name is ————, I’m 17 was born and raised in my city. Growing up for me has always been hard. I was born into a life where its either kill or be killed, and believe me growing up in my city wasn’t nothing lovely.

My life from the very beginning was filled with a lot of drug and gang activity. My mom had my sister at the age of 17, so by age 19 I was her second child born.  From what I can remember from my childhood, my mom has always sold drugs and was a prostitute.  She never had a job that was her way of supporting and taking care of our essential needs.

At the time it seemed we were doing pretty well, considering she was a single parent.  Until one day when I was about four the police raided the house.  I was too young at the time to know what was going on.  All I could remember exactly was getting woken up at gun pint by the police.  That day my mom got took to jail and had to do a five year sentence.

While my mom was gone my grandma took care of me and my sister, also by selling drugs.  She did her best to take care of us.  She kept a roof over our head, clothes on our back, and food on the table.  Then there was my dad, from what I could remember as a kid he was always in and out of jail.  Still to this day, he’s incarcerated doing a 60 year sentence.  He got caught with guns and a kilo and a half of coke, and this was his last strike.  Don’t get me wrong though, the few times he was out he’d help out a lot.  I remember he’d stop by give my grandma groceries, money and gifts on holidays for me and my sister.  Every time I saw my dad even though he had just got of jail he had new cars, jewelry, and stacks of money.

See my dad is also from my city block and growing up people would say I look just like him.  I started off by robbing houses, until I went to jail at the age of thirteen. Then I started getting locked up for drugs and guns.  Like I said it isn’t nothing lovely.

Right now my case is still pending, but I’m looking at five years with a strike as an adult for a 211.  I want to be a mentor because I have been coming in and out of here since I was little. I’m still in here now with ids that I grew up with, whether I get the five years or not I want to try to change lives just as I’m changing mine.

My definition of a mentor is someone who is able to motivate others too excel, someone who provokes positive change and credits.

Posted in Youth | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

It’s Not Too Late

My name is ——– and I am 15 years old.  I come from a family of 6. I have 2 brothers, 1 sister, and divorced parents.  I don’t really remember that much from when I was a kid.  My earliest child memory I can remember was when I was 4.  I remember seeing my parents fight all the time.  I didn’t really know what was going on until I seen my dad start hitting my mom.  I tried to stop him but I was still too young to do anything about it.

My dad was a drunk ever since I can remember.  He would always beat me and my brother up because either he was drunk or he just comes home from work very angry and takes out his anger on us.  My mom never showed us the love and affection that a child needed.  She would beat on us once in a while when shed get mad.  She wouldn’t pay much attention to me and my siblings and she would barely feed us because she didn’t care about us.  Anyways, we used to live in My other city for about 5 years.  We lived on the east side where there are a lot of gangs, mostly south side gangs.

Most of my family members are northerners.   My uncles, cousins, and nephews are northerners from all over California.  They were influencing me to become a northerner like them.  When I was with them, they’d always play their music, bring their homeboys around, smoke and drink around me and all that stuff.  I was still young but the more I hung around with them the more I wanted to be a northerners with the family, especially my mom, she hated my dad’s side of the family.  We also moved there because my parents thought there was too much violence in My other city and they thought they would find peace in My city.  We lived in My city for 9 years. I would go to different schools because we’d either move or I’d get kicked out.

I wouldn’t have much friends when I first moved to My city because all my friends lived in My other city.  When I was in 6th grade, I started to hang out with my cousins and their homies.  I got in my first fight with a southerner at the age of 11.  I got shot at by southerners for the first time at the age of 12 when I was with my cousins walking around the eastside of My other city.  In 7th and 8th grade, I started to hangout with older northerners from the hood.  They showed me love, they had my back, if someone was trying to mess with me they would handle it, if I needed money they would give me some.  They pretty much had me with whatever I needed.

I got put on — at the age of 13.  I was the youngest one in my hood to ever be put on and that’s why I got more respect.  There was times when I’d try to change my ways but the streets were calling me.  As time passed by, I started to realize that this life is no game.  I realized I was playing with fire, I was putting me and my family in danger. I started to see homies either die or get locked up.  I thought it was all a game, I thought there would be no consequences for m actions but I was all wrong.

Now I have to face the consequences for the life I chose. Since I’ve been locked up, I realized there is homies.  The people I considered brothers, either forgot about me or turned against me and that’s what gets me pissed off.  They aren’t writing me or putting money on my phone, they aren’t helping my family out with their struggles like they said they would.  They aren’t showing me that love and respect I first got when I started banging.  Also, my mom stopped talking to me, she forgot about me.  I haven’t talked to her for over 4 months but it is what it is.

It’s time for a change.  This gang life isn’t going to do me any good.  Maybe this is all a message or a sign telling me to stop, to prevent something bigger from happening to me.  Part of it is a good thing that I’m here because I could have been dead by now because I wasn’t thinking about changing anytime soon. Even though I feel like I tossed my whole life away, it’s never too late for a change.  I still have a future ahead of me.  They can’t keep me forever.

It may be too late for me because I might not get a second chance but it’s not too late for others. They still have the chance to change and I’m going to try to make that change.  I want to help others open their eyes and make them realize where they’re heading with the choices they’re making.  This is why I want to become a mentor.

My definition of a “mentor” is a person who has changed and has put their old lifestyle behind.  He is willing to help others change their ways and help them see life in a different way.  A mentor is willing to guide other individuals down the right path.  He should have patience so that he won’t give up on himself or others no matter what situation they’re in.

I want a challenge for myself so I can leave the gang life behind.  I want to do something different in life.  I want to make a positive change for myself and others.  I have changed in many ways from the day I got locked up til’ now.

I have given my life to the lord.  The lord has blessed me with many miracles over my life.  One of the greatest is the change he put in my heart and the way he changed my perspective of life and other human beings.  I’m willing to become a mentor and do whatever it takes to make a change not just in other people’s lives but in my life too.

Posted in Youth | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments


Wisdom can’t be bought or developed by going to college. True wisdom = Knowledge + Experience + Holy Spirit shrewdness.

Genuine and lasting wisdom comes from God. The more time we spend with the Lord, the wiser we will become.

Ask God to give you wisdom and HE will provide you with the people and places and books to gain knowledge. The Bible should be the main source of understanding; providing immeasurable insights into how to live life.

Often the know-how we seek is borne from our poor decisions and then suffering the consequences (jail time, loss of privileges or friends, etc.). We don’t wish for this type of knowledge; but typically we won’t listen to others or search for the right answers unless we are forced to. Being a “captive” audience may be the best thing that happens.

A relatively short amount of time spent incarcerated, is no comparison to an eternity in HELL. Use this time wisely and carefully listen to a concerned teacher, a wise counselor or a caring mentor.

Pray to Him for divine discernment (awareness) and He will surely grant your desire for understanding. Becoming a Christ-follower and a believer in the power of Holy Spirit consciousness prepares a seeking person for judging right from wrong and truth from lies. It gives you a newfound sway over the many deceptions of this world.

Proverbs 2:1-11

1 My son, listen to what I say, and treasure my commands.

2 Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding.

3 Cry out for insight, and ask for understanding.

4 Search for them as you would for silver; seek them like hidden treasures.

5 Then you will understand what it means to fear the LORD, and you will gain knowledge of God.

6 For the LORD grants wisdom!From his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

7 He grants a treasure of common sense to the honest. He is a shield to those who walk with integrity. 8 He guards the paths of the just and protects those who are faithful to him.

9 Then you will understand what is right, just, and fair, and you will find the right way to go.

10 For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will fill you with joy.

11 Wise choices will watch over you. Understanding will keep you safe.

Posted in Executive Director | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments