Kenneth E. Wakefield
His challenge: Kenneth's father died leaving him as head of the household for his seven brothers and sisters. Kenneth turned to drugs at 17 years old and even attempted suicide.
His support: His mother played an important role in raising her children. She turned to her church for help from their pastor to intervene with Kenneth to help kick his drug addiction and get him involved in the community. The active role his mother and his community played saved him.
His success: Kenneth began teaching life skills at various prisons in New Jersey. Through this involvement he started a non-profit company called 4HP which stands for “For His Purpose." The program is a 501c3 certified organization teaching incarcerated individuals the skills necessary to gain employment through training and education.
His challenge: Rodney was born while his mother was incarcerated on drug charges. As a teen, he entered the world of drug and alcohol abuse and became a father at 16 years of age.
His support: At the age of ten, Rodney auditioned for a play and was selected for the role of Othello. The Star Ledger ran a feature article about him and the play and it changed his life forever. His family and the community recognized the talent and helped support and set him up for success. His school selected him as one of three kids to attend one of Newark’s Magnet Schools to be a model of what Newark kids have potential to become if given the right support.
His success: The discipline and support of the theater got him through this dark times. Rodney became involved in the creation of the Newark Mural Program. Rodney established a business, Yendor Productions, which gives young kids experience through the arts to discover opportunities for their talents and to develop the discipline he values and believes is a necessary element for success.
We weave our film together with the powerful stories and remarkable successes of these people.
His challenge: Tony's family was very poor but they were surviving, that is until his father had a stroke and Tony had to leave school to work to help support his family.
His support: Tony was selected for the Newark Magnet School for his artistic talents.
The success: At 19 Tony became a manager of a propane company. His greatest opportunity came from the Newark program “City Without Walls.” A board member for that program was a curator for an art gallery in Soho who wanted to hold a photography exhibit. Tony submitted some of his photographs and they were accepted. This was the opportunity of a lifetime. Tony enrolled in NYU to complete his studies and today his photographs are exhibited all over the world. He has photographed President Barack Obama, the Dalai Lama and other renowned people. As a child, he always dreamed of being a baseball player, but the park near his house was in a drug-infested neighborhood and was unsafe for kids. Today, Tony has taken that same park and renovated it. It is now cleaned up, drug-free, and the home to soccer leagues and activities of all kinds making it a safe place for children to follow their dreams.