August 6, 2009
I have had the pleasure of being a part of something that I think every teen should have a chance to experience. Little did I know I would have had to come to that fork in the road and make a lifelong decision and to this day, I do not regret the decision.
Growing up in a low income household made it hard for me to keep up with others as far as clothes, game systems, and other things teens like to spend money on. So I was stuck with two choices to join some of my peers on the corners, robbing and stealing to get money or join the Y.E.S. (Youth Enrichment Skills) program to earn money. Lucky for me I decided to join the Y.E.S. Program.
I started working for the Program in February of 1995 at the age of 14. I was now known to be one of the programs top sales rep along with picking up and reflecting some valuable life skills. Shortly after my 15th birthday, which was August 2nd 1995, I received my learners permit and that’s when the real journey and learning experience would reveal itself. Unlike most of my peers I had the will power to learn and not give-up. With both of these natural traits combined with leadership and the right guidance it has made me who I am today.
Looking back I remember several things I was 16 years old still in school and working with kids 14-18 years of age in a crew. I was the crew manager or I used to call it crew leader. With me, learning the skills I did and applying them to the job that was needed allowed me to go many places. I allowed the company to expand and help other youth in different cities from South Carolina to Delaware.
My job would consist of picking up all my crew members lining them out an area to work and keeping a close eye on all 16 of them that worked with me. Yes, I managed 16 of my own peers at the age of 16, talk about a leader. Often times I would go out and perform with the crew maintain anywhere personally 15-20 and crew 125-200 a week in sales. It was not a very easy task but I had a very important teacher and person to guide me on the way.
There was this one time that I can remember I started my crew off in a area known to be “butter” is what we called it, just an area where we always would be able to produce a high volume of sales. That day we were out for about two hours and all my crew were coming to me with zeros. I was ready to pick everyone up to leave the area, until I had checked on my last person, Nikki I believe her name was; get this she was in a little two dead end street with maybe 30-40 houses and it had been an area that when I first started wrote up 7 sales in three hours. When I pulled up she was holding up a 3 and still had 3 quarters of it left to work. So I made the decision to stay and that motivated my crew to break the record on a Saturday, which I think was 66. They were so hype that even though we were suppose to stop they begged me to let them break that record that we were shy of by like 5 at the time. You know I made the choice to let them get it and we broke the record by like 2 orders. I think we did 68 orders that day to finish the week with close to 250 orders. Til this day for the company I think I still hold that record for my age. All this and my mentor/Teacher was about two and a half hours away in Durham, NC implementing what I absorbed.
I’ve had to deal with a lot of decision making responsibilities and was able to observe the situation and make what I thought to be the smarter decision. Not always it was the right one but seldom the wrong decision. Whether the decisions made were the right or wrong, I always had someone to make sure I understood why actions cause reaction.
Mr. Jasir Khabir, my Mentor, Teacher, Friend and I consider, along with others a Dad, has put a lot on the line to make his dent and belief that there is still a chance to help the Youth. Yes money would have been nice but the joy of kids that may have had no other real guidance was priceless. Mr. Khabir heart was so set on trying to keep us on the right track that I had wrecked 3 of his vehicles. He brushed it off and handed me the keys to another, while telling me you love people not things, with a smile.
Some other experiences I had were on Fridays I would pick-up my crew we would work our 3 hours, mind you we were in school all day, and after the last drop hit the freeway and drive over 2 hours to Durham NC. There in Durham hit the bed and be ready for work the next morning.
We have traveled so much and have touched so many young people and even other people like parents and adults that were interested in what we do.
I recall another experience I had ran away from home for a week. During that week I still continued to work and ended up turning in 250 orders that week. I loved being around my peers it was like a family and my parents did not understand. They didn’t see that I was hanging out with a good group of kids, having fun, learning some key values, and making money. They tried to make me quit so I ran away from home. Not saying that was the right thing to do, but in an essence it was.
I thank Mr. Khabir because he had done all of this with a family at home. He has helped me personally make it through what is a tough time for every young person. Especially single parent and low income homes. The type of kids in this stage and environment are so influenced into doing what their peers are doing which is selling or doing drugs, stealing, robbing, have babies, dropping out of school and more. The program that Mr. Khabir has tried to instill and have worked hard to have others see his vision and assist has been a long, hard journey. Me being a father of two girls, a husband and have the heart to help others have been striving to do the same. I have been trying to use my skills to help young people granted like I was once told “I can’t help them all, If I just get through to one of them I have done something”. Well here I am That one. Not saying the others have all fell by the waste side, but some have with lack of adult support to the program. There are some who were in the program, that I have talked to personally and found what was learned to help there day to day life.
My goal is to help more than one with the help of others. I already have followed in my mentor’s footsteps and have a kid that worked with me since he was 11 now 17. Even when there was no work I continued contact with him and to this day he still comes around and has been following my lead. To this day I see bits and pieces of what I was taught and have had to apply them. I’m not sure where I would be if it wasn’t for Mr. Khabir believing, teaching, and guiding me in the right direction. I would like to share the wealth of knowledge that I have with others that are growing up. All teenagers should have the chance to benefit from a taste of raw life in the form of great mentor and learning experiences.
I ask that everyone see the light and understand that times have changed and we need to mold our future. The way to do that is through programs like these. The youth is our future without them on the right path mankind will be over powered by endless greed and destruction. I think they need to be on ground zero, learning some of the key values of what life is really about not what is projected by the elements that surround us today. Even though I times I feel I have nothing I look back and thank the Lord for the Wealth of knowledge he has giving me. They don’t teach what I have learned in schools, not saying school is bad. Stay in school and with this combined what you know will make you one of the wealthiest persons on earth. I know I am.
Neale B. Carter
The Do4$elf Academy Building Fund
306 E. 32nd Street Richmond, Va. 23224