I understand how a family unit can crumble under the destructive force of abuse, threats, and crime. My father possessed just about every negative trait you could think of: manipulation, lack of sympathy, and aggression. Violence became his main outlet after witnessing his mother’s death at his father’s hand. Unaddressed emotions from this tragedy morphed into a need for control and led to heavily relying on aggression to maintain power. When my mother and father were married, these feelings were given a breeding ground and the cycle of violence that had begun years earlier continued.
When I was six years old, I sensed something was off. I went outside to join my siblings and embraced my fourteen-year-old sister. When she pulled away, my sister’s blood covered my hands. While attempting to stop my father from stabbing their mother, my sister was caught amid the assault. Both my mom and sister suffered critical injuries. My father was sentenced to twelve years in prison.
He wrote me and my younger brother letters while incarcerated, but the stereotypical “I miss you’s” and “I’ll do better’s” were always laced with underlying threats and false promises. After his release, he went on to serve a double life sentence for the double homicide of his new wife’s parents.
My experience alone was enough to fuel the cycle for generations to come. I could have harnessed the same hate and destructive tendencies that I had witnessed when I was younger, but instead, I forged a different path marked with forgiveness, understanding, and love. My testimony gives me the daily motivation necessary to actively pursue a positive change that disrupts the continuance of abuse and crime.
This true, life-changing transformation is only possible through a relationship with Jesus Christ. Complete surrender, accompanied by a robust support system, essential resources, and a change in mindset, is allowing individuals who were once like my grandfather and father to redefine their future and break the chains that hold them back from reaching their full potential.
JUMPSTART provides all three with a holistic approach that meets a need and solves a problem. With Christ as the foundation for JUMPSTART’s programming, rehabilitation begins with a change of heart and grows outward as individuals restore broken relationships and become active in their families once again.