Jose Luis Lopez
Intervention Counselor, STRONG University (Brentwood)
“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”
Jose believes we are all gifted to do good works. He says the lack of positive alternatives and support are causing us to lose our youth and their talents to the streets. All this raw potential that could be used for the upliftment of our people instead being discovered, uncovered, perverted and used to our detriment. Today he considers himself one of the lost and now found.
Jose and his brother were raised by their mother. She was single but not alone. They had an extended and active family in their hometown of Hempstead, Long Island and nearby areas. Good morals and values were instilled and enforced. Unfortunately, as the saying goes, “an idle mind is the devil's playground.” While their mother worked it gave the two brothers more than enough time to find themselves in trouble. The say “An idle mind is the devil's playground.”
To make matters worse, Jose and his brother were also exposed to racial discrimination at a very early age. A first generation Latin-American from Dominican and Cuban descent, he felt alienated and was a victim of bullying. To some, he wasn’t “black enough”, to others he was too black. He finally snapped and fought back the first time he witnessed someone lift a hand to hurt his younger cousin. He found himself fighting to protect himself, family, and friends regularly. Consequently, resorting to violence and giving into his anger became a habit.
It wasn’t until the birth of his children that he realized he was called for something bigger. Jose embarked on a journey of growth. He obtained his GED and went to college. He also found joy in volunteering. He worked in disaster relief, helped feed the needy, mentored in his children’s school, took time to speak to youth in the neighborhood, and even took part of a humanitarian trip and served as a motivational speaker to the youth.
Today, Jose finds himself at S.T.R.O.N.G. and considers himself blessed to be alive and thriving. After so many close calls with death and the law, he is fortunate to have found redemption in making all his wrongs into something positive. He is using all his street knowledge and negative experiences to reach at-risk youth and help them avoid making the same mistakes. Jose joined the STRONG family in February 2018.
Although he is gifted and has a plethora of life experiences to offer, he knows he has a lot to learn. He is planning to go back to school to continue to grow in his calling. It’s never too late. This is only the beginning for Jose.
S.T.R.O.N.G. Youth, Inc.
A 501(C)(3) Not-for-profit
Phone: (516) 483-1350
Fax: (516) 762-8534
Address: 599 Jerusalem Avenue
Uniondale, NY 11553