Kenney Harris is a little shy talking about his past.
“I had gotten in some trouble a while back … but G.A.P came in and saved me,” he said.
But he says he’s lucky he can talk about it. The 18-year-old was arrested for robbery a few years ago and spent time behind bars.
“It was the first time I was ever in trouble. Growing up in Oakland, I never got in trouble. But I came out here my sophomore year, and I was just hanging around with the wrong people,” Harris said.
He said he was lost and confused as a young teen and fell victim to peer pressure. He remembers going on a downward spiral.
Then Randal Broadhurst came into his life.
“I’m just your average old, pudgy white guy that’s a do-gooder,” Broadhurst said.
The former juvenile detention chaplain had just started his nonprofit, Gang Awareness & Prevention, or G.A.P.
“We call our program ‘inside out.’ We go inside juvenile hall, and when the kids are released on the outside, then we match them up with a mentor,” Broadhurst said.
And that’s something Harris says he’s never had.
“My dad was actually killed a long time ago, so I don’t have a father figure in my life,” Harris said.
“We have a lot of kids that want somebody in their life. They tell us, ‘I will change if somebody will help me.’ So we need mentors,” Broadhurst said.
Through G.A.P, Broadhurst gave Harris advice, accompanied him in his court appearances and watched him walk out of jail.
Now, he hopes Harris pays it forward and teaches kids in his shoes to stay out of trouble.
“It takes time. It takes building those relationships and continuing those relationships,” Broadhurst said.
“Keep and education because that helps. And don’t fall for peer pressure. I just appreciate them and want to say, thank you,” Harris said.
You can learn more about Gang Awareness & Prevention, here.