REFORMED member of the 26 gang, Earl Appollis, has gone from scaring kids to teaching them.
After meeting his wife, Maritsa in prison – he was an inmate and she was a warder – the couple formed Damascus Ministries Crime Prevention Unit. And now Earl uses his experiences to educate the youth about avoiding the lifestyle he once led.
The couple, together with five other members, have been the driving force behind the non-profit organisation which was established in 2005.
Earl said he had turned his life around and felt the Lord calling him to make a difference.
“While I was in prison I was a high-ranking member of the 26 gang. But when I accepted the Lord in my life, He told me to use my experience to make a difference.
“Now I tell my story to troubled youths at various schools across the country.”
The organisation has focused its efforts on the David Livingstone High School in Schauderville, where it has identified a number of troubled youths.
“We found that focusing our energy on one place as opposed to many is a much more effective strategy, especially as funds are scarce,” he said.
Damascus is a faith-based organisation open to the public.
Earl has also started a youth football club in Schauderville.
Those interested in helping the organisation can call Maritsa on 072-262-2026 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org