A Brighter Future Inspired by Tragedy
Kevin Good started Acts4Youth in 2008 after Warren, a young man he had mentored, was shot and killed during an argument outside a bar. At his funeral, Kevin promised Warren’s grandmother that he would take the lessons he learned from Warren's challenges and develop programs to help other youth.
Kevin met Warren as a sixth grader after Kevin and his family moved to Pen Lucy, an area of northeast Baltimore city plagued by drug use, violence, crime, unemployment and fatherless children. Kevin and his family moved into the community in order to better understand the youth they sensed a calling to serve.
Initially, Warren was reserved and seemed apprehensive to allow Kevin to get to know him, but over time he and Kevin established a trusting relationship. Warren frequently spent time at Kevin’s house, went on family outings and even helped Kevin run the sports and tutoring programs.
Both of Warren’s parents were absent from his life. He typically only saw his mother, who was struggling with a drug addiction, when she showed up each month to collect part of the government assistance check issued to Warren's grandmother, who was his primary guardian. His grandmother did her best to take care of Warren's six brothers, sisters and relatives, but he received little attention and, as one of the older boys, was often responsible for helping care for the younger children.
Warren was behind grade level and frequently clashed with his female teachers during middle school resulting in not receiving the instruction needed to prepare him for high school. He enjoyed sports, especially basketball, but found it hard to work through conflict and maintain his spot on the team.
When he moved to another part of Baltimore and entered high school, Kevin and Warren weren’t able to spend as much time together and the academic expectations increased. In a school with limited resources and over populated classrooms, his deficiencies became more apparent. He stayed engaged in school when he was a part of the JV basketball team, but after a disagreement with the coach, he quit the team and lost interest in school. He began to spend more time with guys who were not part of a positive peer group and became involved with drugs and dropped out of school in 10th grade.
He then committed his first crime as an accessory to a drug transaction and spent almost one year in jail. After his release, he attended a boarding school for young men and progressed. He received his diploma, participated on their football team, and became a junior leader. After he finished the program, he returned to his old neighborhood. Kevin tried to encourage him to move away from the community with all of its negative influences, but he had a hard time leaving what was familiar. Not long after his return he was murdered not far from his house.
Warren represents what thousands of youth in our city face each year growing up in areas with high rates of violence, drug use, mental illness, absent fathers, under resourced schools, lack of positive peer groups and unemployment. Without support and with feelings of abandonment, youth enter adolescence lacking essential personal, social and spiritual traits needed to withstand the challenges and thrive.