"I was the oldest of five kids growing up in a single-parent family. Without a father figure and watching my mom barely able to pay the bills, I lacked direction and didn’t know what to do and how to grow up. At age 15, I began to lose interest in school and fell in with the wrong crowd.
I got a job working at McDonalds to try and help my mom make ends meet, but as we continued to struggle, I felt that there were other things to do besides school. I preferred to just sleep in a bed rather than get an education.
Thanks to skipping school, I ended up at AMIkids Baton Rouge and really didn’t want to be there, but the staff put their arms around me and gave me the quality time I needed to understand there was better out there for me. The men at AMIkids provided me with the structure I needed and weren’t just guys off the street, they had college degrees and were fathers with thriving families. They didn’t know this, but I found myself idolizing them, finally understanding the right way to do things and be a man. It wasn’t just them helping out with a math problem I had, but it was the conversation that grew out of that, creating bonds that will never be broken. Those bonds have helped me become the man I am today.
The leadership qualities I learned weren’t just something written on a board to be learned, they were a result of actually seeing and experiencing. The biggest part of their constant support was keeping me on the straight and narrow. AMIkids told me, ‘don’t be a statistic, beat the statistics.’ I wasn’t doing things just for myself, I was doing them because I didn’t want to let down those that cared for me.
AMIkids changed my life, and that isn’t just a saying. Every experience, everything that I have accomplished is thanks to the values and mentoring I received at AMIkids. By going to college, getting a degree and bettering my life, my baby brother told me one day, “I look up to you, you’re the reason I’m going to college. Before you went to college, I never had a reason to.”
AMIkids took a boy with no foundation and created one, built from a group of individuals that aren’t just doing a job, but are committing their lives to benefit others like me."
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