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I know many of us often call upon the Lord in times of need throughout the year. This year I would like to encourage you all to do something for the Lord this Christmas, then pray and say, “Father, today I did this or that as a favor to you…” Show the Lord we are givers too, and not just takers with our hands held out.
Until next time…God bless!
Charm strikes the sight, but merit wins the soul. -Alexander Pope
Five years ago I packed up my family and moved them to Atlanta from the Bronx, NY. There I was, asking my wife, Sasha, to trust in my decisions and faith in God, with the understanding that we would have to quit our jobs and go live in a state where we had no family or friends. Our finances have been in trouble ever since. Things got even worse after I lost my job and decided that it was time to make CHEC a reality. All we had to rely on was my wife’s low income government job, and help from my mother-in-law, Linda.
By God’s grace and favor, we have managed to get CHEC this far andmaintain our household in addition to taking in another child. I know this seems like madness to everyone, but these women know me and believe CHEC is worth the sacrifices. Though they were very hesitant in the beginning, they never stopped supporting or believing in me. My words and deeds proved to be the biggest asset with these remarkable women, and I am glad that they have decided to take this faith-walk with me. I also knew that moving from the big city, NYC, to a smaller city like Atlanta would be different, but we were mentally and spiritually prepared todeal with whatever obstacles would come.We currently live on Atlanta’s Westside, which is known for its unemployment and high crime rates, in addition to the ills that come with areas having a high concentration of poverty. Conversely, the Westside is home to several Civil War battles, and birthplace to several prominent Atlanta families. Many well known personalities, which played major roles during the Civil Rights Movement, are from Atlanta’s Historic Westside. In almost three years, since our inception, we have successfully completed market tests of our main programs and services throughout the community. In doing so, we were able to compile valuable data and feedback on the programs, and gain support for the organization, as well as solidify our stake in the community.
The first thing we did after getting our business license in February 2008, was developed a relationship with SafeHouseOutreach, a well established organization here in Atlanta. Through this relationship were given the opportunity to host the health service portion for Convoy of Hope Atlanta, on August 9, 2008. The event was made accessible to our community by hosting it in the Blue Lot of the Georgia Dome, which is in Vine City, one of several historic neighborhoods that make up our community. We were able to organize various healthcare disciplines to come out and provide free services to over 6,000 underserved residents of the city.
The health services provided medical, dental, and vision screenings and access to follow up care. The event organizers were able to provide 80 tons of groceries, 2 tractor-trailers of household goods from Wal-Mart, employment information, haircuts and numerous community resource information were provided that day.
This event gained us some recognition from community leaders and residents, which enabled us to conduct our research and trial runs of our programs. We conducted trial runs on the following: health education and outreach classes; park adoption and community clean ups; after school tutoring and homework assistance; and we recently completed our second summer youth employment program. This has also afforded us the opportunity to build some really great relationships with various individuals and organizations around the city and state. Relationship building can be trying at times, because not everyone is open to change.
People have not all been receptive of me and my ideas. I’ve been told that my ideas were too grandiose; or not possible in this day and age; and I should worry about myself and stop being a dreamer. I believe it’s through God’s grace that I am able to accomplish these small steps that will eventually take me to my goal. The consistent demonstration of my ability to make CHEC more of a reality has granted me growing merit and credibility, because a person’s words and deeds will always be the ultimate proof of their character.
Please visit our website and learn more about our programs and services.
Until next time…God bless!
5 and said, For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh? 6 So that they are no more two, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. -Matthew 19: 5-6
I was listening to a popular radio show and a woman called in about her best friend being a man. The host wanted to know why they weren’t together as a couple. When asked why they weren’t, she replied “he’s just like a brother to me. I think of him like that.”
For years, I’ve been advocating that couples should not enter into a monogamous relationship with someone who isn’t their very best friend. You see, the concepts of best friends and biblical marriage are almost are synonymous with each other. For when your best friend is also your mate, it lays the foundation that will create the union of the two becoming one. Simply put, if your mate isn’t your best friend, then you will have all sorts of issues in your relationship until your friendship reaches its full potential.
Your best friend knows you better than anyone else because they are your confidant and secret keeper. If your partner isn’t that person, then you are doing them and yourself a great disservice. Remember, everyone wants to be their mates EVERYTHING. This is the key to my 10 year marriage, and why people often call us The Couple.
I would like to hear your take on this, is your wife/husband your best friend?
Until next time…God bless!
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Introducing CHEC Pro
In my earlier blogs, I told you how the concept for CHEC Pro was founded and written while I was incarcerated. Today I would like to tell you more about CHEC Pro and our initiative. After my release from prison in 1999, I was able to maintain my focus on changing my life for the better. Today, I am a proud husband, father, and involved community member, as well as the founder and chief executive officer of a nonprofit organization called CHEC Pro.
The mission and objective of the organization is to build and revitalize low-income communities by providing programs and services that meet the needs of the residents and improve the infrastructure of the community as a whole. CHEC Pro is proposing to create comprehensive community based centers in low income areas across the United States, with Atlanta being the pilot and main site.
Our areas of focus are: Children (mentorship for serious high-risk youth), Health (health education & outreach), Education (career planning and employment readiness), Community (infrastructure rehab and civic responsibility & community pride).
Recently, and thanks to one of the board members, we were able to catch the attention of the Center for Community Change with whom we have formed a partnership. They are helping us with organizing to gain the necessary attention to make this program successful. I hope that many of you reading this blog will feel my passion, and the need for a CHEC Pro or one of its programs near you. Please contact us to find out how you can be a part of our campaign for change.
Until next time…God bless!
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Change isn’t easy…so how did Bobby begin to change?
One of the first things I had to do was change the man that entered the penal system. I had to seriously get my life in order. I knew that change comes from being honest with oneself and having the courage to step away from negative behavior and change negative attitudes. Dealing with the root issues that affected my attitude toward life was the hardest part of self-evaluation.
I had to address issues like, “Am I really adopted and my mother won’t tell me the truth?” For no mother could beat and curse a child that came from her, the way she did me. Or what about how she so callously spoke of her attempt to abort me but failed? Or that time when I was eleven and she hog tied me and beat me, with braided electrical cords, for over an hour then poured hot, salty water on me to heal the welts and cuts.
How did that affect you Bobby?
I found comfort in the idea that I had to be adopted, especially since my younger brother and sisters got all of the affection and love. Though I will never know that feeling or connection that is shared between a mother and son, it cannot stop the love I have in me. I knew that I would never treat my children or any other child the way that I was treated. At age 42, I have been blessed to have children of my own and the love I give my kids is without question. Through my kids I have become a surrogate dad to many of their friends. This is the reason why one of our primary objectives at CHEC Pro is to provide an alternative to the streets and the knowledge they’ll need to compete fairly in society, through our mentorship and after school programs. This is just one way I have made changes in my life, and with CHEC Pro I am now affecting change in other lives.
The greatest discovery of our generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind. As you think, so shall you be. -William James
Thank you all for the positive responses to my blog. Please be sure to join our mailing list and leave your comments.
Until next time…God Bless!
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When I think of how many people having to rely on charity in this country, it hurts my very soul. This is especially hurtful during the holidays, when so many of us have to rely on charity for food, clothing and presents for our kids. Charitable organizations were created to help the unemployed and not the working. However, charity is no longer just for the unemployed, but also the new growing class of the working-poor.
The economy might have created an increase in unemployment, but the number of working-poor families has steadily increased over the last twenty years. The working-poor are those of us who are currently employed, but do not earn enough to cover their basic household bills. Many of us work for years without basic cost of living increases, yet health coverage premiums increase yearly, and so does our food, rent, and clothing. This puts a huge strain on charity organizations, especially during these holidays as they try to help so many needy folks around our cities.
I would like to encourage each of you to help at charity near you. Every can of food; every new or used jacket or coat; and every piece of new toy is a blessing to a needy child and family. As the Lord blesses you this holiday season, so should you be a blessing to someone less fortunate.
Until next time…God bless!
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For the last three years I have been speaking about the changes that CHEC Pro will bring to the poor and underserved population. However, I often fail to tell of the changes it has brought to my life and now I would like to share some of that with you all.
The concept for CHEC was the beginning of the many changes it would bring to my life. You see, up until June of 1996, I was just another screw-up wasting God’s precious air. Here I was on my third year of a six year prison sentence for armed robbery. I used to believe that by robbing drug dealers and putting them out of business I was doing something honorable for my community. Not realizing how much damage I was doing to the community. June 1996 found me battered and bruised from the past 14 months of prison transfers and beatings from correction officers in every prison I went to. Let me tell you, prison life isn’t what most civilians think it is. I was given the opportunity to be around other inmates during a transfer when I ran into a kid that grew up in my old neighborhood and my life hasn’t been the same since.
During a recreation period, I overheard a conversation that sounded eerily like a story of one of my past exploits, and it prompted me to go investigate. There was Derrick, a kid from my old neighborhood, bragging about the how tough his block was because it was home to me and my old cohorts. I had to pull him aside and tell him how not to speak about me as if I was some sort of hero, and advised him not to waste his time in prison like this. We spoke about his sentence, him being more constructive, staying out of trouble. After that, I went to my cell got on my knees and cried like a baby. I begged God to forgive me of sins and grant me the way to fix the mess I have made. You see, Derrick was doing 10 years for armed robbery, he was 19 years old, and I was the first person to hand him a gun.
Why didn’t I see how much that boy looked up to me? Why didn’t I realize how much influence I had among the people that knew me? If it wasn’t for me this child probably would never have known the horrors of prison life. I cried myself to sleep that night. I remember dreaming of four letters that night (C-H-E-C). When I awoke the next morning, I took some paper towels and began writing the concept of CHEC, and by the time I was finished I knew God answered my plea. I knew my life had changed and I would never be a screw-up again, because I had to become the man that will be able to make this a reality.
Until next time… God bless!
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