Today I look back at all that I’ve experienced, not only the past five years that I gave my life to my Lord. But, my whole life seems to have led to this more than just a hurdle I have to clear.

To reach other goals is a process, though complex and at times, messy.

It has enabled me to make sense of my relationships, to organize my life, to communicate with family and others.

I will no longer be trapped by addictions or others’ agendas. I will be a person on an adventure, managing my own time and energy.

Becoming skillful, and thereby more powerful emotionally and spiritually, to offer hope and moral guidance… the more I commit myself to excellence, the more likely it is that my work will get worse before it gets better.

My standards will rise and although there will be times that I may stumble, I will have the ability to get right up again.

Over the years, I have developed a sufficient sense of the integrity of my own ideas and style. I’m assertive, confident and forthright. I try to maintain an authoritative, upbeat persona, who talks in real language that people use and understand.

I developed my mind by experimenting with different ways to word my ideas. By doing so, I will participate in the most basic strategy of maximizing my intelligence and discover what is best in me.

It is human nature to both seek and avoid change.

The difference between those who achieve and those who don’t lies in how they respond to challenges. Fear of failure breeds failure.

I am trying to reach out to people. My goal and purpose is to help the youth and community, to build a non-profit called T.E.A.M. F.R.E.E. (Together Everyone Achieves More Freedom Redemption Education Employment), as well as Together Humbled By God.

I want to help the youth, which means helping the future.

The recent gang shooting of my friend Gary Duane Lewis at Kiwanis Park hit home. The lifestyle we live is sometimes taken for granted.

It’s time for us to give back to the community, to take a stand against gang violence.

Nicolas Melendrez, Jr.

Yakima County Jail

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