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First, all thanks to God for allowing me to see this day, and speak these words words of vision.


A stepfather is a powerful, yet under appreciated, role that a man may take on in his life.  To raise a child who is not your own and to love that child as your own is not always easy, but it happens.  If I were faced with the choice of giving a kidney to my stepfather or to my biological father, my stepfather would get it; hands down.  That's a harsh reality: The truth.


My father is a great man, an awesome grandfather.  He's me, and I'm him.  My stepfather is the true definition of a man's man.  He's a provider, a listener, a leader, and most importantly, a teacher.  He taught me about life and what life has to offer.


I have been told that I'm like a father to a lot of the young men that I've had the pleasure of mentoring during some of the most difficult times in their lives.  Whether locked up, pending placement, awaiting their waiver hearings, or just them having a place to sleep and eat.


The homeless youth with no male figure in their lives, positive or negative...I've seen and talked to them.  I've counseled killers, drug dealers, rapists, thieves, "stick-up kids", rape victims, straight-A students, son of preachers, teachers, doctors, military, ex-cons, both, rich and poor.  They are all my kids.


I've seen some of these kids become killers and even get killed themselves.  I remember talking to these young people and thinking: "what could I have done differently?"  I should've listened more.  I should've kept in contact, but my job tells me I can't, so, I don't.  When I get that bad news, I feel a certain kind of way. 


Our young men need to be exposed to life.  They are not afraid of death; they are terrified of living.  With living comes the uncertainty of knowing the responsibilities, the failure, and the disappointment.  All are apart of development.  We must develop our children, and let them know there are still Men out here willing to teach, but they have to be willing to learn. 


Once my father asked me, "What do you think you're going to get out of these streets?" My response was short and sweet. "The question should be: What are the streets going to get out of me?"


~Allen M.Graham, Founder

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