Meet Us Monday: Kevin, Graduate

In April of 2021 Kevin moved into a REAL House. And last week, Kevin graduated from REAL LIFE, started a new job, and got his driver’s license. The road to graduation was not always easy for Kevin, but with the help of people like Shabazz,  he was able to understand the positive effects that completing REAL LIFE would have.

Kevin grew up in Roanoke, Virginia and was surrounded with drugs and crime for most of his childhood. He recalls resorting to a life of deviance because where he grew up it was all that he was accustomed to. Unable to escape the life of crime, he was soon after incarcerated and served multiple years in prison. When Kevin first was released, he said that it was very difficult to stay out of the streets because it was basically all he had known. Growing up without a father made it very difficult for Kevin, because the only person that was really there to support him was his grandmother. However, luckily for Kevin his lawyer had mentioned to him the idea of to REAL LIFE where he would have for a fresh start.

When Kevin first joined the REAL LIFE, he was only there because he had to be. It took some time, but things began to click. He got a new house manager, Shabazz, who really contributed to his change. Shabazz sat down and talked with Kevin about his future in the program and told him that if he continued to lack in participation and effort that he would never make it through. Kevin talked about how difficult the initial three months were, but every time he felt fearful, he would just reach out to Shabazz.

Kevin stated that “Shabazz made my sobriety much easier because it was someone that I could relate to.”  Shabazz began to check on Kevin more often to make sure that his success with REAL LIFE was a priority to him. Almost instantly Kevin realized that he needed to start working hard if he wanted to successfully complete the program. Shabazz sat down to have another meeting with Kevin and that is when he realized, if he was ever going to be a part of his children’s lives then completing this program had to be priority number one. Kevin gives all of his credit to Shabazz for being so caring and understanding throughout the whole process. He then went on to say that “I needed that tough love and that’s what Shabazz provided for me.”

Once Kevin made REAL LIFE his number one goal, he went above and beyond. He made sure to not only attend every meeting that he could, but also made sure the others in house were attending them as well. Kevin said that “I had many opportunities to go in the wrong direction, but I kept pushing myself and started going to every meeting.” His drive and passion to want to be there and provide for his children is what kept him motivated every single day. Kevin’s dedication to REAL LIFE and his want for others to have success is the reason that he has been able to accomplish so much in the past 6 months.

After handling the adversity of incarceration, Kevin has turned his life around and continues to take steps in the right direction every day. The job he started last week is one that he dreamed of working at since he was a child. Kevin said “the program really does bring the good out of you” and his experience here has clearly displayed this. The REAL LIFE family couldn’t be more proud, and we are excited to see what else the future holds for Kevin!

Photo Credit: Skip Rowland Photography