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Kids hear about consequences of crime from Toledo man who turned his own life around

Victor Coleman Jr. had been in trouble with the law from a very young age. Today the PhD holder, speaks to young people at-risk of falling victim to a life of crime.

TOLEDO, Ohio — Guns, gangs, and drugs are all things that continue to have an impact on the crime in our community.

But one local group, the Program Inc., is working to stop that and they're doing it by talking to Toledo's youth, on their own terms.

Victor Coleman Jr. knows all too well the consequences of leading a life of crime.

“My first arrest was first grade, but my youngest one that's in the photos here is 18 years old – two of these mugshots were from when I was a senior in high school," said Coleman, the motivational speaker at a Program Inc. event on Saturday at the Mott Branch Library.

Victor Coleman Jr. went by many names, especially when he was a young person on the streets of Toledo –  selling drugs and stealing cars.

But now, Coleman Jr. goes by Dr. V - a man who transformed his life behind bars to eventually earn a PhD and become a recognized motivational speaker.

On Saturday, Coleman Jr. spoke to young people about his experiences at a Program Inc. event billed as “the Streets Don’t Love Nobody”.

The Program Inc. founder Tramain Rayford says it’s vital that young people hear from representatives of previous generations who have gone through similar experiences in their own lives.

"Without combating that cyclical pattern of fatherlessness, they are destined to go to prison, jail, or homelessness. We have to do something to combat that cycle," said Rayford.

The Program Inc. has been working to help stop the violence, crime, and drug activity that our youth see happening in the city.

It’s that kind of life that grandmother Teresa Greer wants to keep her grandkids away from.

"At their age right now, they can make a difference. They're the children of our future and they need to know what’s going on in our community,” said Greer.

Rayford says he believes Coleman Jr. can be a model to the youth by sharing his life experience.

"I let those traumas make me a victor in life instead of a victim in life,” said Coleman Jr. “My message is just to teach the young people that you can be a victor too. Deal with your traumas head-on and use them for positive versus negative."

Coleman Jr. says it takes just one person to help change the cycle and mentor others to do the same.

The Program Inc. puts on events like this throughout the year.

Click here for more information about future events.

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