My name is De’Andreas. I was born and raised in Evanston, IL.

As a young child, I had both parents, but they were working parents so I was always with my sister. As a child I got everything I wanted and I was good at every sport I played. I don’t know what happened but around seventh grade I was infatuated with things. My parents couldn’t buy me a lot so that’s when the streets got hold of me. I started doing all types of things for money including selling drugs, robberies, and stealing. By always staying in the streets my grades started falling and I couldn’t play sports any longer. I never knew how I really started gangbanging but I remember the older G’s (gangster Disciples) letting me kick it with them. Just like that I was plugged and started making money on the block.

I was getting a whipping every day for something, either for weed, guns, money, or school. My mother found one of my guns and took it away from me. My father gave it back to me & that same day I got arrested. I was fifteen years old, on my way to juvie (juvenile detention center). I spent two weeks in the Audi home because there was no probable cause. After this my parents got a divorce and it was down hill from there. When I was seventeen I caught an armed robbery case. In a four-year span, while out on bond, I had nine different cases pending against me. By a blessing they gave me Boot Camp.

I spent three months in county jail wiling (acting crazy to the 3rd power) with the GD’s. They shipped me to boot camp and that was the hardest thing in my life. Before I was calling the shots and now I have people yelling and spitting in my face, telling me what to do. If you fail in boot camp you’re sent to the joint for your whole bit (sentence) plus a couple. I almost did not make it. I was on the verge of being kicked out when I met Chaplain Corey. I thank God for meeting Corey because I had just called my mother and told her I wasn’t about to make it. My best friend had died and I was ready to start wiling again. Corey helped me make it through. By the end of my four months they gave me the most outstanding change award. Thank you Corey.

After boot camp Corey got me in the carpentry school. It began with three of us from the boot camp. I was the only one who made it all the way. Now it’s been three years since I gave my life to God and I love every bit of it. I now own my first two flat, I’m a union carpenter, a janitor at my church and I’m also a youth leader.

I still can’t believe what God has done for me. I’ve been robbing, shooting, and stealing just for money and I always landed in the same place, but now in just three years God has given me way more than I could desire. For me, it’s G.O.N. (God or nothing).

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