At seventeen my mother gave birth to me, her third and final boy. Growing up without a strong male presence, I began to gravitate to the influences within my home and environment -an environment that was consumed with poverty, drug abuse, and gang violence. These circumstances lead to a series of poor decisions on my part, causing me to spend a significant part of my adolescent years growing up in juvenile hall, institutions, and group homes.At the age of nineteen, due to gang violence, I found myself sitting in a jail cell facing a life sentence in prison. The reality of my situation scared me beyond fear, and I cried nightly, pleading to God for mercy and a second chance.The next eleven months were the darkest days of my life, going through the court procedure, so hopeful for a second chance to do things differently. After going back and forth between my attorney and the prosecution, that second chance came in the form of an 18 year and 9-month plea agreement.On my way to serve a prison term of a minimum of 16 ½ years, I knew I had to change. I told my sentencing judge just that. I would use these years to better myself, to be the young man my mom raised me to be. Over the course of 17 years I did as promised, but not without first addressing the gang infested mentality that lead to my incarceration.Next I began to educate myself, taking advantage of all of the programs the Department of Corrections had to offer. I exchanged bad habits within my character for the admirable ones of the men I read about in books and came in contact with. I immediately began implementing and practicing these characteristic within my own being.However, my growth and the development of my journey did not come without trial and error. I looked at every mistake as an opportunity from which to learn. I prepared vigorously for my return to society as a new man.During the last seven years of my incarceration I facilitated classes for men based on positive behavior, attitude, and actions. I devised a plan for my release and hit the ground running executing that plan, bringing as many positive influences into my life as I possibly could.My name is Marcus White and in seven days my sixteen-and-a-half-year prison term will have expired. For so long now I’ve been making a conscious effort to prepare for this transition.And as one might imagine I’m experiencing all sorts of emotions as I phase out of one environment into the next. Although none more strongly felt than the will to create a promising future for myself. I’m overwhelmed with this nagging desire to return home a better man than the nineteen-year-old kid who entered the penal system with absolutely no direction, structure or even sense of purpose.After years of continued growth, development, and maturity, this restless ambition now burns in the pit of my stomach to do something productive with my life. And despite the height of my aspirations or the will to succeed I realized years ago that I’ll accomplish nothing alone. I will need help. I’ll need people, mentors, life coaches, faith, chance, and opportunity.But where is one to look for this help? I assure you no one will fully understand my plight more than an individual that’s been there. I turn to you in the hopes you’ll assist me with guidance, mentorship, and direction. I’m too determined to look back or give up, and I have too much potential to not believe in myself. I just need good people in my life to help me along the way.Enjoy the rest of your evening and I hope to hear from you soon.Sincerely,Marcus
My mother passed away on May 3rd, 2016. She has always been my strength, my rock, my love, and has given me the capacity to care for others. I miss you so much, Momma. Rest peacefully.
With the support of R3 Community Services, Marcus is now seeing his dreams come true. He is an Apprentice Carpenter with the Local Union and a motivational speaker. Marcus has his eyes set on greatness, and we at R3 Community Services are honored to be a part of his journey and success.