Marcus Tolbert once played football, baseball and basketball at Orr Academy during his high school days, but then he ended up in prison for two years. Out on parole for two weeks, Marcus was invited as inspirational speaker by CSAC (Community Support Advisory Council, an association of West Side social work organizations,) for their monthly meeting last month at the Beyond Recovery center at 2942 W. Lake St. 

I was the life of the party. My friends all came to get me to do what we were gonna do. But that led to bad influences. A lot was going on in the street and some people don’t want to change and get away from it.

I was in prison in Sheridan. Now I’m staying at a halfway house in Austin and my new friends there are keeping me straight.  I don’t want to go back.

I just want to help support my family, get a 9 to 5 job, and stay out of jail. I’ve got two sons and two daughters. One of my sons is playing football no and I’m building bonds with all my kids, including my son. I wasn’t around when he was little. 

I’ve got to be a stronger person now.  I’m in a program training for warehousing and factory jobs.  I like hard labor, it keeps me in shape. My goal is to be a football and basketball coach.

— Bonni McKeown