Cut the cuffs part 1
I don’t know how it happened, but it seemed that God was speaking to me. There, in the same block that I was in, was a man with a head full of gray hair who spoke and behaved like me. I was only 19 years old. God told me, “this is you, if you even live this long. Do you want to be this? If not, you have to change your life starting today, while you are still in here.”
That was more than enough for me to make a huge shift in my priorities and force myself to look at who I had let myself become. I wasn’t this hardened criminal. I was the shy guy who played piano, the one who was supposed to go to college and study music. I was the guy who did not excel in high school academically, but I did very well at what I liked, piano and choir. I was the awkward guy that not many people knew outside of the music rooms.
So how did I get here? How was I wearing that ugly orange county jail suit? How did I make the foolish misstep of committing a crime? What brought me to this jail, and where was I going to end up? Prison.
I was an at-risk youth. Living in poverty, though my mom worked very hard at her full time job. It was hard for us, though mom did everything in her power to shield us from the hurt of poverty. Mom had to support six growing kids by herself. She didn’t get governmental assistance; she didn’t milk the system in any way. Even if she wanted to, we didn’t qualify for the benefits because she “made too much money.” Making what she made was enough if it would have been just her and maybe a child or two, but six kids and herself was a stretch.
So I took from those who had more than me. I stole what I wanted. I connected with others that were willing to do the same. Together, we devised a plan…
Stay tuned for part 2 of the story. Connect with us to help other at-risk youth break the cycle of poverty and violence and succeed in life.
About the author:
Martice is co-founder and program director for Just Ministries. Martice is passionate about helping the at-risk youth make better decisions in life to keep them from entering the penal system. He is also passionate about ridding the world of poverty- in all of its forms. He has began on the path of growing his own food, and is hopeful that Just Ministries can develop a program that employs individuals with employment barriers through growing organic fruits, produce, and possibly meat and he hopes to develop a local market to sell those products. He is currently a level 1 Reiki practitioner and in his spare time he loves to play monsters with his son, play with computers, write poetry and short stories, and teach Amy how to play dominoes- as well as teach her how to trash talk while doing so:)