My name is Amlak, and until recently, I lived through what seemed like an endless amount of poverty, violence, and prison. Although I am a product of these factors, I have come to realize that I don’t have to let them define me. Life has shown me that many people have lived through similar hardships and conditions, yet they refuse to allow those circumstances to dictate their drive. It is this same drive that fueled me through my 19 years of incarceration. I followed in the footsteps of people I admired and knew if I applied myself with the same burning passion, I could make an impact for the greater good.
I am a free man now. So, what’s next? It is time to implement all the plans I organized in prison. It’s not as easy as I thought it would be. Being in a cell for so long actually made it hard to make concrete plans for the “Free World.” As self-sufficient as I am, I realized that I needed help. I needed a “big brother” type of mentor, who had also done time and could help me through some of my challenges and misconceptions. Having a mentor truly saved me from making many wrong decisions.
The reality of transitioning back into society has been and will continue to be my experience. If you share in this reality, you will be able to relate to my feelings and experiences. Being able to relate to someone is key to connecting with another person. Personally, the power of peer mentoring saved me during my transition from incarceration to the community, therefore, I know it works! I began mentoring youth and lecturing about criminal justice and the power of mentorship, even lecturing at two universities! You could almost say that I’ve become a crusader for mentorship in the criminal justice system. I was already passionate about the subjects and now, I’m on fire.
The spark that lit this fire was none other than mentorship. This fire leads me in all I say and do. My passion and persistence led me to become the first returning citizen (ex-felon) to work as a Post-Release Case Manager at The GEO Group! How did I do it? I NEVER DOUBTED MYSELF! Today, I am honored to say that I have a caseload of over 150 guys that I get to advocate for on a daily basis. The key to my ability to help these guys is the fact that we share a DOC number and have walked around a rec yard while wishing we were walking around our personal yard.
Now that many of us have made it off the rec yard, what happens to the many brothers we have left behind the wall? We get our lives together, so that we may be a guiding light for them once they return to society. How do we do this? Well, we simply live, setting a positive example for others, so that people can see the greatness and value of our lives. If you have the desire to give back to the many people coming home from prison, please visit the Mentorship page. There are never too many mentors in life. Join our army of mentors on the mission to Change Behavior & Change Lives, one person at a time.