Derrick Bell

“Probably gang-banging and not going to class. I was good in basketball, and all my classmates were telling me to go to class, but I didn’t go to class, and I ended up getting kicked out of school, so I’d say gang-banging, and not going to school.”

Juwan Wilson

“I usually take advice. I took some good advice when I was 17 from my mom. She told me my husband, well he was my boyfriend then, was a good guy, a good provider, and I should marry him, and I did. We’ve been married since the age of 21 all the way up to 34, and he is a good guy.”

David Mitchell

“Not following my mother’s advice. I went outside and went around people and got into trouble and went to jail. She would say,’Boy, you don’t need to go out there and hang out on that corner.’ I’d still go out there and end up in trouble and end up in jail and calling her to try and get her to bail me out or give me some money for commissary. I finally turned my life around in 2007, and I have not been back to the penitentiary since, and I’m never going back. I’m too old for that now.”

Innette Grissett

“A lot of people, my mother, my sisters, and everybody advised me against moving in with my closest friend I’d known for about 20 years, but I didn’t listen, and I moved in anyway. Everything they advised me against happened. They said it wouldn’t work out, it will be too much company, too many people in and out, and it wasn’t a safe environment for my son. We stayed together about three months and then I had to go.”

Elizabeth Grissett

“The worst mistake I ever made was by not taking my mother’s advice to get good grades. My mother told me to pay attention in school. My problem was I used to talk all the time. One time, I didn’t pay attention, and I didn’t get good grades, and I got a whooping and punishment.”

Cody Washington

“Gang-banging. As a result of that, I didn’t finish school. I had children a little too early. I mean just the streets; the streets will eat you alive. My mother told me, ‘Boy, the streets are a MF’ and ‘to go to school and don’t be out there gang-banging.’ I did just the opposite, but I’ve turned my life around now.”