Can one person make a difference in another person’s life? We all like to think so, but we are rarely in a position to see much change. The Center for Neighborhood Enterprise recently released a video series with a powerful message. “The series documents the work of grassroots leaders in low-income communities throughout the nation who are addressing the most devastating, entrenched forms of poverty and self-destructive behavior.”
The videos tell a story of one person helping another person to overcome poverty. Omar Jahwar was a community leader with a successful record of “quelling youth violence in the streets and schools of Dallas. When gang rivalry and violence peaked within the prison population in the mid-1990s, Dallas corrections authorities hired him as their first gang specialist to work within the walls of a state prison.
“Omar embraced the mission. Among the first of his charges was an intimidating figure – Antong Lucky, the man who “started the Dallas chapter of the Bloods gang in a neighborhood dominated by its notorious rival, the Crips. In spite of Antong’s threatening demeanor and reputation, Jawhar recognized that he had a latent desire to live a positive, successful life, and that seed could take root if given the proper support and investment.”
Antong was once a straight-A student but gave that life up to join a gang and sell drugs. He saw many of his friends killed because of violence, and he ended up in prison. Because Jawhar reached out to him, he was able to make a drastic change in his life. He started a program in prison called “We Make Real Mentors” and “was able to establish peace among rival gangs.” When he was released from prison, he continued to work with Jawhar in his anti-violence initiative.
One person can make a big difference in the life of another person if one is willing to accept the challenge and be a mentor.