Tell us about your background and upbringing?
Born and raised in Indio, Ca. I graduated from Indio High in 1998. I was raised in an amazing community here in Indio/Nirobi area where I was taught to honor the elderly. I was surrounded by all my relatives that provided a village lifestyle. I am the oldest of four siblings all residing here in the valley. I grew up close to my grandfather and lost him early in my life and it was a major change for me. Then my mother remarried, and it brought on even more change for me. Being the oldest in the house, I had to learn how to adapt while setting an example for the rest of my siblings. Learning how to accept life and push forward took me some time. A major part of my growth was meeting my wife in 1997 and getting married in 2004. Eventually, we would move away to San Diego for about eleven years and finally came back to the valley where we would embark on a new journey in life. I am now a father of two beautiful baby girls and work with young men around the Coachella Valley.
Where are you currently living? Indio, Ca
What’s your occupation and how did you get started?
I am a Young Men’s Program Director for BRAAF. (Building Resilience in African American Families). Well, I had an interesting start. I used to work for the Rescue Men’s Mission as a program coordinator. I really loved what I was doing and I ended up getting let go and shortly after my departure, Sandra Austin the CEO for Family Health Support Network, Inc. gave me a call and suggested I come in for an interview. Once I was introduced to the BRAAF program, it immediately reminded me of the village I grew up in. I loved the teaching elements of the program. It fit my passions perfectly. I never thought losing my previous job would help me grow. “All things work together.” (Romans 8:28 NKJV) GOD had to show me the importance of rescuing men first to help me see the true importance of serving the youth so they will not need to be rescued later. https://www.fhsnet.org/braaf
What would you like to share with the public that makes you Unique?
I’m a humble child of GOD and I’m very passionate about working with the youth at BRAAF! I am learning how to be more transparent with the young men to help break the chains that hold them back. My goals are centered around helping them find their purpose (Nia) and walk in that purpose. GOD has poured so much into every one of us and I want them to understand that.
What are the lessons that you've learned through your experiences that you would like to share with everyone?
I have had my fair share of losses. I’ve lost my grandfather, job, and a child. Following each loss, I’ve come back 100 times stronger! I have lost a job and gained a career. I have lost family and gained an amazing wife. I have lost a child and been blessed with two beautiful daughters. Life often takes things, but it also gives. I used to suffer from low self-esteem and lack of confidence as a kid. Not being the smartest in the classroom messed with me mentally and emotionally. Everything I do in life comes from my heart. I look to the LORD for balance and strength in my life so I can stay engaged with the youth and keep them encouraged. I love being used by GOD to empower the young men to serve His mission.
Any closing words you would like to share?
Humbly and boldly, I want to challenge the men in our community to step up! Serving at Family Health Support Network we have had over 135 young men come through the BRAAF program and I can’t do it all by myself. The boys need STRONG BLACK MEN in their lives. We can use the support of other men to help pour into these young minds. We are looking for volunteers. If our young men are to grow to be kings, they need KINGS to set the example!
Interview by: Samuel Thompson