Three years ago in Baltimore’s Chesapeake Detention Facility, Lead By Example & Reverse The Trend a self-improvement program started. It was designed to rehabilitate individuals and societies marred by violence.
Interestingly enough, its founder, an Evangelical minister, was not always so righteous.
“I had my first incarceration with the federal government when I was young, I was about 25 years old at the time,” revealed Hendrickson, LBE&RTT founder and leader. “I went to trial for a drug conspiracy charge and I was sentenced to 22 years.”
While serving time, Hendrickson’s eyes were opened to a much bigger problem than his own.
“In that environment, I began to see a lot of young men coming in without any redeeming skills,” he said. ”I wanted to pay it forward and help the youth. I went up to the warden and asked if there could be a self-improvement program created for the young men here and he allowed it. I got permission to teach the program and the change soon become evident.”
The youth started to take everything he was saying to heart.
“My experience being on the opposite side of the law, going through the incarceration and rehabilitation process made me more creditable to them,” he explained. “It became a lesson for them and revealed that I could be trusted.”
Hendrickson became a minister eight months ago. His experience not only taught the father of two an important lesson in self re-evaluation, but became the driving force behind establishing these two community outreach programs. LBE&RTT’s core values were based on ones originally instilled into Hendrickson by his grandmother.
They include character building, honesty and integrity, parenting skills, respect for everyone, building and maintaining healthy relationships, rejecting peer pressure and violence, quality education, establishing goals and purposes, and faith. The end result is for individuals to ‘reverse the trend’ of self-destructive behavior and become law abiding citizens and productive members of society.
“I’m completely committed to changing and improving the conditions of the community through self-improvement because it is the basis of community development,” he said. “We have to develop the people and they will develop it. The main objective of these programs is to prevent violence in at-risk, violent societies and it can help guide our youth to a better tomorrow.”
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“Our programs are about enhancing the human being and making him or her better,” explained Hendrickson. “We try to help people in every aspect of their lives.”
The program recently conducted a Candlelight Peace Walk on the corner of 167th Street and Interval Avenue before concluding at 163rd Street and Simpson Street for the Anti-Gun, Anti-Violence Ceasefire Rally on the evening of Saturday, November 15, in Hunts Point.
The event was meant to send a message and prevent any instances of violence within the area.
“It was a great turnout,” expressed Hendrickson. “We had over 100 participants and what was really inspiring were the young people, because their voices were being heard. We garnered a lot of support from the Bronx and they tell us to keep going with these programs. I received a lot of help for the programs and it was a team effort.”
Hendrickson and LBE&RTT would like to extend their fullest gratitude to the Comptroller’s Office; Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson; 41st Precinct’s Community Affairs Department; Guns Down, Life Up; Save Our Streets; Viveca White; Sarah Delany, outreach coordinator; John Bradley; Pastor Staci Ramos, Garden of Gethsemane Ministries; Sarah Murray; Kevin Hently; Cedric Scott; Garnett Smith; Reverend Vernon Williams, Perfect Peace Ministry; and Pastor Roslyn Willis, Accepted Ministry for all of their help in making the Hunts Point Peace Walk and Ceasefire Rally a successful venture.