By Lance Bon
I remember the first time I was in the Youth Guidance Center, [the juvenile lock-up] in San Francisco. I was tripping out on losing my girlfriend, and I was scared about what might happen to me in court.
My second day there, I noticed this guy on the unit with long, grayish-white hair and a really long gray beard. I was thinking to myself, "Who the hell is this hippie?" when he approached me and introduced himself. He started asking me questions, like where I lived and why I was locked up. For some reason I felt totally comfortable letting this man know what was going on in my head and in my life. I told him about my fears, and something about his response made me feel confident and secure.
Three nights a week, Jack Jacqua [co-founder of the Omega Boys Club] holds meetings for young people at the hall. When I sat back and started listening to the knowledge Jack was sharing, the sadness, loneliness, and fear that dwelled within my heart were released, and replaced with feelings of hope and motivation.
Jack has dedicated his life to saving young city kids from destructive ways. He teaches that change is something you must do yourself. He inspires you to get in touch with who you really are, not who you wanna be to impress your friends. He is the one person I can always turn to for straightforward answers and support.
Jack is not only an amazing man but a true freedom fighter, who will never give up on the cause that he believes in.
© YO!, San Francisco, Calif.