Breaking the prison cycle

April 2, 2010 8:36:54 PM PDT
It's an amazing story of accomplishment. We told you about a program a few years ago called "No More Victims." The goal is to stop the vicious cycle of children of prisoners ending up in prison themselves. And we have the story of success from one of those children.

"Devon stopped the cycle. It's done, it's over," said Marilyn Gabrelle, who runs the "No More Victims" program at Smiley High School. "Now, we're gonna go on and do great things."

Gambrelle is talking about Devon Wade. Wade just became a Truman scholar at Louisiana State University. He is the first African-American and first student outside the LSU Honors College to win the scholarship.

But what makes this even more remarkable is that Wade's parents spent time in prison.

"I just had misplaced anger or aggression," said Wade.

Statistics show 60 to 90 percent of kids with at least one parent in prison end up behind bars. But Wade had a way out. It's the "No More Victims" program at Smiley High School. Gambrelle runs the program, which helps children of prisoners find self worth and become leaders in their community.

"What she does in her community, just a role model that she is and the opportunities that this program gave me to be a role model, gave me to mentor," said Wade.

"No More Victims" has helped 1,000 students. Out of that group, only three percent have gone to jail.

"Everybody knew, all of us knew, every teacher on campus knew, this one was on his way," said Gambrelle.

Wade will graduate in December, another first for "No More Victims." Wade now wants to give back to the group that gave him so much.

"After graduating from high school and being able to be involved in the program further, this just really solidified in me the fact that I wanted to do something for my community," said Wade.

Wade's mother got out prison, but his father remains behind bars. His mother got her degree from Houston Community College. Wade plans to pursue a doctorate and hopes to become a federal agent.


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