My family life was fractured. I had no guidance, and by the time I was 12 years old, I was already breaking the law. At age 13, I was arrested for the first time. I was lost, and being so young, I didn’t know what type of person I was supposed to be, and quickly became a product of my environment.
I was later sent to a juvenile justice facility and was exposed to the horrors of prison life. When I did something wrong or fought or disrespected staff, I was thrown into lockdown. Those of us there were just thrown in and had to fight to survive and were slowly being turned into hardened, callous criminals.
Later, I was fortunate enough to be sentenced to a 15-24 month term at AMIkids Bennettsville. I didn’t know what to expect. Even if I had, those expectations would have been surpassed. The staff there addressed my behavioral issues by talking me through problems and posing solutions for how I could actually change. The caring, family atmosphere provided me with much of what I was lacking in my developmental stages of my life and helped turn me into the man I am today.
In my 18 months at AMIkids Bennettsville, I obtained my GED, completed over one hundred hours in culinary arts, carpentry, and Army Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC). I obtained my CPR, CERT, and Life Guard certifications and completed my first semester of college through online classes.
Since graduating from AMIkids Bennettsville, I obtained an Associate’s Degree, completed several OSHA certification programs and became an authorized OSHA instructor. I have worked for a nationally leading energy supplier for over five years and am an entrepreneur, opening and owning an upscale salon & spa, and starting my own promotional products company and becoming a licensed distributor.
AMIkids gave back what my early childhood and environment took from me. They exposed me to a life that I didn’t know was possible and gave me the tools and skills needed to be successful. Most importantly, they reminded me that I am somebody.
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