Gang member turned pastor, speaks in Lake Charles - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Gang member turned pastor speaks in Lake Charles

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

"New Steps Reentry for Youths" is an organization that fights for youths caught up in the cycle of incarceration.

Under that group is "The Gatekeepers Men Story Circle Group," which holds monthly meetings.

The Gatekeepers group brings together a panel of young males, many of whom have been down the road of drugs, gangs and incarceration.

And they speak to others about what it takes to break the cycle. Tuesday's meeting also had a motivational speaker by the name of Rev. Charles Banks – a gang member turned pastor.

Banks went to Arkansas State University on an academic scholarship, but one day, lost his way.

"I'm a two-time loser in prison, Arkansas Most Wanted. I was a gang member for 12 years, I was affiliated with the gangs in Little Rock called the Crips, OGC, Original Gangster Crip," explained Banks.

Banks also sold drugs, cooking meth for 10 years. And he said it took losing everything to turn around.

"You don't have no friends, you don't have no homeboys. Your homeboys say they your homeboys but when you lose everything, where your friends at? I had a rough life, but God saved me and gave me a chance," said Banks.

And he's using that second chance to preach and speak to groups like this.

Connie Walton Lewis, the founder of New Steps Reentry for Youths, said, "it's a membership based organization and it's statewide, for children coming out of the system and that have been in the cycle of incarceration and recidivism."

Tuesday's meeting, called The Gatekeepers A Men Story Circle Group, falls under that organization and brings in speakers – including local young men. And who better to speak than someone who's been down that road?

"I messed my life up at 17, I mean I went through the stages through juvenile but at 17 I messed my record up by just doing crazy stuff on the streets you know and now I learned from it and I'm trying to better the community and the children so they won't go down the path I went through," said Gatekeeper Jamyrik Walton.

The group focuses on young men between the ages of 15 and 17.

"But if anybody else comes and says they need help we would definitely help them," added Lewis.

Tuesday was the group's third meeting, and at each one, Lewis said they continue to grow.

But most importantly, Banks had this advice: "It doesn't matter if you're a convicted felon. You can have what you want to have. Gang members go two places: the penitentiary and the cemetery. Do not let your scars determine your dreams."

The Gatekeepers Men Story Circle Group meets every second Tuesday of the month. For meeting information, call Connie Walton Lewis at 337-438-1856.

Rev. Charles Banks, founder of Drugs & Gang Awareness Prevention Program, can be reached at 337-344-9345 or dgapp@hotmail.com.

Copyright 2013 KPLC. All rights reserved.

  • More Local NewsNewsMore>>

  • Food for Seniors program feeds hundreds

    Food for Seniors program feeds hundreds

    Sunday, November 19 2017 10:16 PM EST2017-11-20 03:16:08 GMT

    Eliminating hunger for thousands of our senior citizens and keeping their minds at ease-- that's the mission of the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury's Food for Seniors service. Every third Friday of the month, senior residents of Calcasieu parish can sign up to receive a box of food, but it's a lot more than that. “A lot of people if they didn't have this they couldn't make it and I know some of them wouldn't have anything to eat,” said Betty Landry a recipient of the Food ...

    More >>

    Eliminating hunger for thousands of our senior citizens and keeping their minds at ease-- that's the mission of the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury's Food for Seniors service. Every third Friday of the month, senior residents of Calcasieu parish can sign up to receive a box of food, but it's a lot more than that. “A lot of people if they didn't have this they couldn't make it and I know some of them wouldn't have anything to eat,” said Betty Landry a recipient of the Food ...

    More >>
  • Multiple agencies respond to Vinton structure fire Sunday

    Multiple agencies respond to Vinton structure fire Sunday

    Sunday, November 19 2017 7:35 PM EST2017-11-20 00:35:27 GMT
    Vinton house fire (Source: KPLC)Vinton house fire (Source: KPLC)

    Multiple agencies worked to knock out a structure fire in Vinton Sunday. Around 3:30 p.m., the Vinton Fire Department responded to a call on Center Street. Fire was showing through the roof of the burning house in two locations when firefighters arrived, said Assistant Fire Chief Kevin Merchant.

    More >>

    Multiple agencies worked to knock out a structure fire in Vinton Sunday. Around 3:30 p.m., the Vinton Fire Department responded to a call on Center Street. Fire was showing through the roof of the burning house in two locations when firefighters arrived, said Assistant Fire Chief Kevin Merchant.

    More >>
  • FIRST ALERT FORECAST: Could not ask for better weather during our Thanksgiving week

    FIRST ALERT FORECAST: Could not ask for better weather during our Thanksgiving week

    Sunday, November 19 2017 6:30 PM EST2017-11-19 23:30:04 GMT
    Nice weather on MondayNice weather on Monday

    Through the rest of tonight, we will have clear skies with rain chances down to zero. Temperatures will cool down to the upper 30s to the low 40s tonight, so it will be cooler from last night. With the clouds clearing, that will allow temperatures to quickly fall. Frost is possible north of I-10! Monday will be another beautiful day! Highs will remain in the mid 60s with mostly sunny skies. There could be a few more clouds in the afternoon, but none that will bring any rain. 

    More >>

    Through the rest of tonight, we will have clear skies with rain chances down to zero. Temperatures will cool down to the upper 30s to the low 40s tonight, so it will be cooler from last night. With the clouds clearing, that will allow temperatures to quickly fall. Frost is possible north of I-10! Monday will be another beautiful day! Highs will remain in the mid 60s with mostly sunny skies. There could be a few more clouds in the afternoon, but none that will bring any rain. 

    More >>
Powered by Frankly