Meet Squirrel. He came to Project AK-47 when he was 12 years old trying to escape a bloody history with a drug cartel. His head was slightly large and he had buck teeth, so the nickname “Squirrel” stuck. Squirrel became part of our rehab program because our PAK-47 community (you) gave us the funds.
Squirrel grew up in an abusive household, so in order to escape, he ditched school permanently to live on the streets. He became a drug addict, and to feed his addiction, offered his services as a hit-man to a local cartel. He then began working at a convenience store where he sold under-the-counter drugs for that same cartel.
One fatal day changed his life forever. He and a friend messed up a job and they were taken to a mansion in a nice section of town to be reprimanded by the boss. In the courtyard, the boss blindfolded Squirrel’s friend and forced him to kneel down. Then he shoved a gun in Squirrel’s hand, saying “Kill your amigo!” “I..I..cant!” Squirrel stammered, his knees weak. “Kill him!” the man snarled. “Why…why…he’s my best amigo?” Squirrel appealed. “You messed up, now shoot him and make it clean!” “But…” “Fine then!” The man snapped. “We will blindfold you and make you kneel and you can die for your friend. Okay?” Squirrel fought back his tears and tried to ignore the screaming inside his head telling him to run. He squeezed the trigger and sent a shot into the bowed head of his sobbing friend. The gun thundered, jolting his arms, sending emotions like ricocheting bullets through his body. He closed his eyes and turned away, trying to shove down his reflex to gag.
That was a dark day. A young boy had lost all hope that he could ever be forgiven or be accepted by normal citizens. But according to his social worker (that you have empowered to help these kids), “Love can do everything!”
When a person arrives full of bitterness and hatred, you can’t beat them, you must love them. This social worker says “I’ve seen hit-men, big tough guys, melt when they experience love. I learned that Mexico is ruined from corruption and lies. No sensitivity is left.” He also says “I’ve learned you don’t report drug related activity to the police because they all report to the cartel. Loss of values makes people like animals.”
Here is the amazing thing about Squirrel’s time with us: Through service and love he was able to understand forgiveness and forgive himself. He loves to draw comics, scenery, and landscapes and we were able to send him to art school on a full scholarship. Drawing helps him express the pain in his soul that words cannot unlock.
Now he is going to school like a normal young man and working with his uncle in a corner convenience store. Squirrel lives with his sister and is piecing his life back together. He is now 15 years old now, and because of you, there is hope for his future. This is one of your success stories. This is a story of how you gave a kid a chance to be more than a killer. There are many more children to help, so hang tight with us on this journey of rescue and restoration!