Kevin spent much of the 1980’s in and out of prison. He was 13 years old when he ran away from a verbally abusive home. His desire for acceptance and significance resulted in gang membership with the Altadena Block Crips. The first time he was arrested and spent time in juvenile hall was for breaking into a sports store and stealing over $30,000 worth of merchandise.
As Kevin’s familiarity with gang activity increased over the years, he found himself growing deeper into crime. A 10 minute high speed chase from a dope house, kidnapping, and grand theft auto landed Kevin in one of the largest solitary prisons in the state of California. As fate would have it, the man whose car Kevin had stolen was a correction officer.
Out of options, and with no chance at probation, Kevin took a deal for 15 years in prison in January of 1991. Incarceration was to Kevin as challenging as the streets. Skirmishes in the prison yard frequently landed him in solitary confinement. Motivated by faith and the same desire to be significant that landed him in a gang, Kevin decided to take his energy and put it into his education. Kevin studied for and eventually received his GED.
Kevin only served 9 ½ years on a 15 year sentence and returned home in August of 1999, where he started attending a church regularly. He entered the cement mason apprenticeship program in 2001. Out of 2000 members, he graduated number 1 in his class. He got married in 2005. He received full custody of his daughter shortly thereafter. Kevin is proud of her academic achievements as well as her career as a CSI.
Today, Kevin, in his words, is “giving back to the community [he] helped destroy.” By not glorifying violence and telling teens the truth, Kevin hopes that his story will keep kids out of prison. He has spoken with a variety of high schools, churches, summer programs, and youth groups. In 2003 Kevin became a regular speaker Rose City Continuation School in Pasadena, California. He has been a member of the ELEV8 team since the spring of 2010. Kevin believes that in order to be successful, you have to “change the stinkin’ thinkin’.”
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