02/07/2013 02:21 pm ET Updated Apr 09, 2013

I Am Important, Lovable and Valuable: A TCR! Graduate's Story

My name is Jaime and I am a proud graduate from Twin Cities RISE! (TCR!), an organization that truly transforms, builds your career and changes your future.

I was angry, disappointed and depressed to know my children were not getting a father who could take care of them and provide a safe home. Being on drugs and violent, I did not care if others lived and had family. I was not the best student in school or the best son, and truly not a good father in the beginning. I was horrible in school, I did not do any school work, and I was defiant, disrespectful and was in fights. I used drugs, was in a gang, dropped out and witnessed my half-brother get shot. A peer came up to me and said, "You fight a lot, you should come wrestle." I checked it out and it became my turning point in high school, and I went to college to do more wrestling.

After about 2-3 months, I begin to see my lifestyle change. So I was ready to take the next step and enter into TCR! with an open mind. I was less depressed and knew the meaning of caring. My living situation was up and down, but I was using some of the skills TCR! was teaching me so I would not act out in anger. I still held grudges and was bull headed on some things, but with time, I got help with those problems.

Being a father to my four children is what I knew I wanted to excel at. Since I never knew my father, I understand the authority of a father's role is important and I wanted them to get that from me. I have learned skills that have increased me spiritually and socially through true confidence and power, to achieve the best things out of life.

The most valuable skill that I have learned at TCR! is self empowerment. The dictionary defines Empowerment as: "to invest with power, especially legal power or official authority and to equip or supply with an ability; enable." When I look over this definition I think to myself who, what, and how has this word affected my family, job, friends and me. This word has completely embodied my lifestyle and my daily living.

Being empowered has shaped and helped me to demonstrate the process of having others trust in my authority. It has helped me to have a respectful and cordial relationship between my mangers and co-workers. Empowerment says on my job, I can complete a task without being asked. It says I don't have to have the power, but the understanding of the ability to enable others to be great.

Empowerment challenges our basic assumptions about power, people, helping others, achieving, succeeding and the willingness to change. Empowerment says as a man, I have the capability to achieve greatness. It says "I am Important, Lovable and Valuable."

TCR! has given back to me. This is a part of my story and if it was not for TCR!, I would have not had this turning point in my life.

Editor's Note: Jamie shared this story at our annual luncheon in 2012, to more than 200 Twin Cities RISE! supporters.