While I was growing up, a lot of people didn't understand me. My grandparents took me to school...not my parents. Other kids would ask me why my grandmother was always at the school and not my parents. My parents were in prison, that's why. It was really hard,
growing up with both of my parents locked-up. It seemed especially hard at nighttime. I always thought my parents didn't care about me because of the life choices they made. I was always told that I was going to prison just like my parents.I remember feeling so hopeless and that I was going to end up in prison no matter what good things I tried to do in my life. I never thought I had a chance until I stepped into M. B. Smiley High School my senior year. I was new at the school. I heard about a program called No More Victims.I heard it was a group created for kids just like me, who had parents in prison and who were needing to talk. I never heard of a group just for kids dealing with the same issues as I was.There was this woman over the program and everybody called her "mom". This class wasn't Math, English or Science. It was just for us and what we needed to talk about and what we needed help with. I will never forget that day, September 15, 2004. That's the day that I walked into the classroom and that one day and those few steps changed my life forever. I finally could stop pretending about where my parents really were and I could be honest. I could never be honest and it was awesome to talk about my reality and not be judged. To be told that I was important and precious and deserved good things and that I could choose whether to go to college, the military or anywhere else that I wanted to go. I didn't have to go to prison just because my parents were in prison. I have the right to make my own choices and going to prison is not one of them. No More Victims was critical for my life I am a veteran member of NVM and I come back every week to support my brothers and sisters and Ms. Gambrell. I want other kids to have the opportunity to know how powerful they are and that they don't have to go to prison no matter who keeps telling them they are. This program saved my life. Also, I am a senior in college this year, Prison is not an option for my life.
Kenneth Woods, Veteran Member, Four years