My name is Eddie Larson and this is my story of how I changed my life around. I grew up on the cityÃÂs south side which had one of the highest amounts of teen pregnancy and crime rates and also common gang violence. I, myself wasnÃÂt a gang member but our culture and our brown skin labelled us all.
As I made my way into high school things became harder. I began giving into peer pressure and I started to struggle. If things inside school werenÃÂt making my life hard enough, outside influences sure were. I got in many fights in and out of school and I had incidents with the law many a time. I even recall once being held at gun point. I had bad grades, I failed everything. I just wasnÃÂt interested, I saw no point.
It was then one eventful school day I decided to change my ways.
It was during lunchtime that Benny, our gang leader, handed me over a brown paper bag and told me to go over to the Mercedes parked on the curb. I knew it was the wrong thing to do but I wasnÃÂt going to stand up to Benny, not today anyways. As I approached the car, the man inside rolled down his window and to my surprise he grabbed me by the collar of my shirt. Before I knew what was going on Benny approached and shot the man in the head. I later found out he was a cop.
It was that week that I dropped out of high school in grade 11 and by then end of next week none of our gang remained. But I didnÃÂt want anything to do with them. It was earlier the next year that I started hanging out with people...