At 31 years old, Lamar was a newly free man at a dead-end. He had spent six of the previous seven years behind bars. He couldn’t remember how to live life outside. He had almost decided that he belonged in jail.
Lamar’s troubles began when he was only 19. His father died, leaving multiple businesses for Lamar to operate. He rose to the challenge and kept his father’s legacy alive until the legal system discovered that Lamar’s father didn’t have a will. All of the businesses were given over to probate, leaving Lamar with no job, no income, and feeling like his father’s legacy was lost.
With nothing else to do, it was easy to fall in with the wrong crowd. Less than two years after losing the businesses, Lamar was incarcerated.
From 2009 to 2016, he was only out of jail a total of 12 months. When he finally walked away from jail, free, he had to make a choice. Where do I belong? Am I staying out, or am I going back?
In the end, it was two people who convinced Lamar to take his life back.
The first was his six-year-old daughter, who would only look at him when she visited him in jail, never speaking. Lamar knew he’d do anything to fix his relationship with his children.
The second was Eric Evans, 4:13 Strong’s program director. Eric convinced Lamar to swallow his pride and trust the process.
Lamar admits that he had been taught his whole life not to trust anyone, especially anyone who was doing something positive. He reluctantly agreed to apply for 4:13 Strong, mostly to please the people around him.
But then something changed.
He began doing it for himself.
He worked hard to learn what 4:13 Strong was teaching him. He was amazed that he could trust five people he had never met — the 4:13 staff — to show him how to get his life back on track. Lamar followed the program, and when he finished, he had his driver’s license, a car, insurance and job where he was quickly promoted and given more responsibility.
Lamar has been out of the program for over a year and continues to thrive. He surrounds himself with people who are positive and encouraging. He is on track to become a supervisor at his job, and his two children now come to spend the night with him — and his daughter has plenty to say.
Lamar is still involved with 4:13 Strong by mentoring new participants. He drives them to GED classes, picks them up from work — anything that will help get another young man on the right path.
If you speak to Lamar now, don’t expect to hear a sad story. His excitement and appreciation for his opportunity at a fresh start is the first and most important thing he will share with you. He has even (reluctantly) embraced 4:13 Strong’s infamous “adventures.”
“When Eric first told me we were rock climbing, I said ‘Eric, you know black people don’t climb mountains and rappel back down, right?’” But he did it. Lamar has learned over and over that what he’s always been told he couldn’t or shouldn’t do were holding him back. Now he knows the sky is the limit, and he is setting his own goals thanks to 4:13 Strong’s guidance.
“My definition of a real man used to be whoever has the most money, cars and women,” Lamar said. “Now I know a real man is someone who is not afraid to get on his knees and pray. He takes care of his kids, he spends his time, not just money on them. He puts God first and knows how to get up and do what he’s supposed to do.”