“I had no moral standards. I cared for no one except myself. All I wanted to do was terrorize the streets, and I did.”
This is a typical quote we hear from young men who have grown up with no moral compass. Terrell never knew his father. Born to a 15-year-old mother, “It was more like growing up with an older sibling than a responsible parent,” he told me. All his mom wanted to do was live life and party. After all, she was still a kid herself.
The one stabilizing factor in his life was his grandfather. But when Terrell was 15, his grandfather died of cancer, and it devastated him. Because he enjoyed sports, he finished high school, but once his grandfather was gone, Terrell began living the street life. He dealt drugs, carried guns, robbed people, and began using cocaine and ecstasy. Violence was his life now, and he thrived on it while his victims suffered.
After high school, Terrell enrolled in Fresno City College, but he didn’t attend there to study. He realized that unlike high school, he didn’t even need to attend class. He could smoke cigarettes or weed if he wanted. He used the campus to find as many girls as he could. He hooked up with friends at night to party. His idea of being a man was: “Hurting people, sex, and having as many kids as possible.”
One day he met up with enemies on the college campus. They fought, 5 on 10. It was chaotic and violent. Police were called, but Terrell and the others had dispersed before they arrived. After that encounter he decided he was “in the gang all the way.” There was no holding him back. He was going to make a name for himself, and he didn’t care who got hurt along the way.
His viciousness and spreading of mayhem eventually caught up with him, and at the age of 24 he went to prison for the first time. It was a wake-up call. He saw two sides of life in prison. One side, the young guys, just wanted to gang bang. The other side, the old guys, realized they had messed up their lives. He listened to the old guys.
After three years in prison, Terrell was released. Then he found Hope Now. He was serious and wanted to make a new beginning for himself. He graduated and is making strides to be a real man. I asked him what his definition of a real man is now. Without hesitation he replied, “Raise a family, protect others, have a passion for being a soldier for good.”
Will he make it? I think he will. Hope Now will “soldier” on with him, continuing to help him adjust his compass for good. Thanks for your support.
Executive Director and CEO