From a young age, I knew that I wanted to spend my life helping people. However, I never imagined that my journey would lead me here; as the Co-founder of RISE. This grassroots movement was developed out of the desire to showcase the innate talent that I see maturing on a weekly basis by young incarcerated men. While working with my clients enhance their own strengths and refocusing those strengths in a positive direction, I realized that some of them were never guided to use their talents to their fullest potential. It tickles me to see their childlike innocence return and it amazes them to have someone who does not benefit from their transformation believe in them so fervently; especially since most of society has cast them out as depraved, unproductive degenerates.
By cultivating their strengths, providing them with support and linking them with opportunities, I am confident that they can be fruitful citizens. I have already seen how unconditional support can make a positive impact on their lives. I believe that anything is possible with the right collaboration. My tenacity and patience paired with their motivation and willingness to incorporate new thoughts and implement new behaviors can bring about a fresh outlook on life. They may begin to have faith in themselves and believe that they can RISE…Rise Out of Fear, Rise Above Circumstances and Rise to Success.
There is no greater fulfillment than to see how all of the knowledge and energy that I have harnessed through the years will be used to make a difference in the world. I want to help others realize that they too have the power to make a change-in their lives and the lives of the people who love them. The totality of my experiences has influenced my view on how I am supposed to fulfill my mission. But, I’m not selfish. I want to share this passion with others and was fortunate to cross paths with people who shared my vision. And RISE was born.
“I’m going to change the world!” As a child, an adolescent and a teenager, I can recall saying this to myself over and over again. I’ve always known that my purpose in life was to commit myself to assisting others, but I was never certain as to what my role would be. I started out wanting to make sure all the “bad people” went to jail, but as I matured so did my way of thinking. I learned that it isn’t about being a bad person; it is about being a human being capable of making mistakes.
In working with incarcerated males and listening to their stories, I have come to realize and accept that I am one poor decision away from being trapped behind the same walls that surround them. These men have just as much to offer society as anyone else and I have the privilege of helping them appreciate just how valuable they are.
The most rewarding aspect of working with these men is that I get to know them as people…not the crimes they committed. I make it my business to believe in them because I believe they can change. It often brings tears to my eyes to witness the changes these men make once they experience the unconditional compassion and concern that I give them.
I believe that every person possesses the desire to be better than the day before. For a variety of reasons, not all people are in sync with that desire and not all people are afforded the same opportunities. Living a life with purpose requires structure, guidance, support and encouragement. It is my passion to provide these things to individuals and families so that their today will be bright and their tomorrow will be even brighter.
I am no longer curious as to what my role in helping others will be because I am fulfilling that role every day. I am dedicated to reaching those who have been categorized as unreachable; it is my calling to be a beacon of hope for those who have been labeled as hopeless.
Today I can say, “I am changing the world!” One person…one mind…one heart at a time.