A POSITIVE FORCE FOR CHANGE
With a high school degree in hand, heading to college with sights on a degree in Communications, and having already beaten many odds, his future looked promising. A simple brush with the law put his life into a tail spin. Once in the judicial system, what had been a bright future turned dim and the odds seemed insurmountable. Just as with so many other young men, it did not take much too topple his dreams and aspirations. Many seemingly trapped into the legal system are overcome with hopelessness and simply settle for less or altogether give-up.
His name is Kenan now best known as Mr. Lightburn. He is a third generation native of the Sulphur Springs community who despite the odds of growing up in a socio-economically challenged environment is making a strong comeback. Kenan began performing community service hours and neighbors were so impressed with his attitude and work ethic that he was invited to bring that same work ethic to Abundant Life Church. He is now the favored and sought after Go-To-Guy when there is part time employment available.
Kenan is grateful to his family and also gives credit to the church (All Nations and Abundant Life) for their unwavering support and giving him opportunity for a new start. The agencies involved with Sulphur Springs Neighborhood of Promise (SSNOP) are also working to help Kenan reenter postsecondary education or a certification program at Hillsborough Community College, make repairs to their home, establish credit worthiness for homeownership and provide possible part-time employment opportunities.
Recently, Kenan was reissued his driver’s license which he says gave him a sense of freedom and possibility.
Kenan was an integral participant in an organic base of volunteers from the Churches and residents who partnered with Rebuilding Together Tampa Bay and painted houses for other Sulphur Springs residents. He is close to completing the 1st time offenders intervention program and has his sight set on completing his education. He has written plays, trained as a professional actor, and now aspires to make positive contributions to his community
Kenan’s story is one of comeback and demonstrates the possibility of what happens when family, community and partnering agencies such as C.O.S.S (the Churches of Sulphur Springs) and SSNOP provide positive rap-around support for residents who wish for a promising future.