I grew up in Stockton, California, and I am the middle child of my parents’ seven children. I had a rough childhood surrounded by poverty, divorce, drugs, alcohol, gangs, abuse, and death. By the age of fifteen, I was no longer able to see the glimmer of hope in my future and ultimately gave up on myself.
In December of 1997, I killed a sixteen year old kid in broad daylight over gang issues. At the time, my immature mind was able to cope with taking an innocent kid’s life by believing that I did so over disrespect and loyalty. The sad truth is that I did not even see this person as a human being. He was simply a means to an end.
Through him, I was able to release a lot of the anger, hatred, frustration, and pain I had buried inside of myself growing up. It took me a long time to realize this and to accept the truth that I was hurting on the inside and passing my pain onto others through violence. A lot of people made excuses for me due to my young age, but my action were of my own choice. And it is with that same mind that I have chosen to do something better with my life.
Since that dreadful day in 1997, I have taken full advantage of all the help that has been offered to me and have regained that loving, caring, and responsible person that I was born to be. I have since obtained:
- My G.E.D. and graduated from Patten University
- Completed over five years of vocational sheet metal training
- Become a certified tutor through the R.E.A.C.H. program
- Graduated from the Victim Offender Education Group
- Been elected as the Executive Secretary and Public Relations/Marketing Chairman for the San Quentin T.R.U.S.T.
- And, most importantly, I have dedicated the last eight years of my life to working with at-risk youth through the S.Q.U.I.R.E.S. program.
I have come to learn that there are those who squander opportunities because they do not appreciate them at the time, and those that never get those opportunities to begin with. However, there comes a time later on down the road when we all find ourselves at a crossroad and are given the choice and opportunity to do something better with our lives.
The Last Mile program has presented me with a unique opportunity to do just that, and I will be taking full advantage of it! Through this program, I plan to obtain the necessary skills and knowledge of the business world, as well as a basic understanding of modern technology. With these tools, I hope to achieve success upon parole and a more fluid transition back into society. I also hope to gain the power to motivate others and show them that change is possible as long as you have an open mind, the desire to change, and the courage to do something about it.
It is important to understand that I am not doing this only for myself. I am also doing this for my family who have supported my through my incarceration, and my girlfriend who had inspired me to be better and do even more. Equally as important, I am doing this for the community that I helped destroy and the life that I took because I was unable to deal with my own life responsibly. With that said, I realize that I cannot change the horrible things that I have done, but that I can change the person who I was when I did them. So that is exactly what I am doing!