Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Reputation Goes a Long Way

Rudy Suggs, S.O.S. Violence Interrupter
What does it mean when we say the S.O.S. team members are credible messengers? Rudy Suggs shares a story of how his reputation on the streets helped him to reach a young man who needed help finding a different path in life. 
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A few months ago, a woman I knew from when I was out on the streets came to me and told me that her son had been locked up for guns and a robbery charge. She wanted me to talk to him. She came to me because she knows that I’ve changed my life and she wants me to help him do the same. So I started talking to him. It hasn’t been easy. He was apprehensive at the beginning. But now he’s coming up to me when he sees me and talking to me—and that’s not something he does with everybody. I’m trying to be a friend, first of all. But ultimately I want him to change his thinking. I want him to understand that when he pulls a gun, there’s so much hurt behind that action. And he’s told me that he wants to put down his gun and stop robbing people. But it’s not that easy.

My reputation goes a long way in helping me reach out to high-risk individuals in our community. This young man’s mother came to me because she knows the path I’ve taken in my life and that I’ve successfully changed my ways. And her son has opened up to me because he sees that too. That’s how I’m able to use my past and my experience to help other people change their lives and their behavior.

Special thanks to Jonah Newman, Editor-In-Chief of The 195, for compiling this story. 

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