A once-troubled teen now helps others

Anthony's life has come full circle. He grew up in poverty in Albany in a volatile family situation. When he was only 5, his father was sent to prison. Anthony struggled in school, got into a lot of trouble, and joined a gang in middle school. School authorities said he was destined for death or jail.

But when he was in high school, something changed. Anthony was befriended by John Watson, a World Vision youth outreach worker, after he accidentally set fire to his grandmother's kitchen. At this low point, John took Anthony under his wing and helped him make positive changes in his life. As a result of John's leadership and Anthony's involvement in the Youth Empowerment Program, Anthony left the gang when he was 17.

Today, he eagerly seeks out solid male role models like John. Anthony is now a leader and mentor to young people in his community, including Carl, 16. Far from gangs or jail, Anthony plays basketball while pursuing a degree in early childhood education at Albany Technical University.

Anthony says World Vision "paved a highway for me to stay out of trouble" and "caused me to see more than just a young man from the 'hood. It taught me that I can be better than what I am today."





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