My road in life took a while to figure out.
Born in Haiti but raised in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights neighborhood, he grew up in poverty and surrounded by violence.
Before moving to the United States, he didn’t attend school regularly—there is almost no public education offered in Haiti, and his family never had enough money to afford private school.
His father was an addict and physically abusive toward him, his mother, and his siblings—as a result, Jim thought violence was how you dealt with problems, so he was always getting into fights.
To assimilate into life in Brooklyn, he began hanging out in the streets, skipping school, and going down a negative path—says in his neighborhood, you were either “predator or prey.”
Started selling marijuana when he was 14 and eventually began selling harder drugs—he’d been arrested more than a dozen times by the time he was 15.
At 16, he was charged with two felonies, but instead of prison, he was sent to “Boys Town,” a rehabilitation center—says being in the system liberated him from the environment that was crushing him.
Through the help of mentors and positive role models, he eventually received his GED and graduated from college with a degree in political science.
He is now an author, motivational speaker, mentor, nonprofit founder, policy advisor, and a passionate advocate for criminal justice reform, particularly in regards to the juvenile justice system.
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