Mark Newman, AWER Program Leader for November, introduced us to fellow Hispanic, fellow Miamian, fellow lawyer, former gang member, and formerly incarcerated Mr. David Lee Windecher. He’s an author who is crusading powerfully and with unmatched devotion for the redemption of kids who like him encounter all kinds of trouble, and also like he was, in many cases, are inside our jails for breaking the law. David, who has devoted parents and family members, decided in his mind at age 7 he wanted to be a lawyer. But because of a variety of violent situations, by him and against him, and law-breaking, he ended up in jail at 14. At 15 he dropped out of school and became a financially successful illegal drug entrepreneur – and wealthy too, having at one time owned 19 automobiles. But he re-entered the legal system for crimes. His good fortune led him to Nicole, a girlfriend who convinced him that he had to change his life and who helped him get into Miami Dade Community College. With great sadness, he left Nicole who also was pursing a career in the law. David, as did Nicole, knew that her association with him – perhaps as a spouse - would block her professional aspirations in the law. Having graduated from college with a Bachelor’s of Arts (BA) degree, he turned his sites to law school. But 48 of the fifty law schools to which he applied rejected his application; only Georgia State University and John Marshall law schools accepted him. He chose John Marshall, in part because Michael Mears, renowned death penalty defense attorney, committed to helping him. David graduated and was then hired by the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office … who also fired him because of his criminal justice and incarceration record. He now runs an education and rehabilitation program for the court that educates individuals in a way that helps to prevent them from returning to the criminal justice system. David founded RED – Rehabilitation Enables Dreams - to combat the criminal justice system from the inside and stop recidivism among young, nonviolent offenders. It is a year-long program that guides enrollees in every detail and discipline needed to overcome the negatives to be encountered and explains what they must do and how to go through the processes in thinking and making choices needed to set them on a course for life success away from criminal activity. RED takes an all-encompassing approach to the criminal justice system, initially by acknowledging that issues like substance abuse, poverty, emotional, psychological and physical abuse as underlying causes of behavioral problems are things that cannot be overcome through incarceration. Go to www.stoprecidivismnow.org to find out how to do more, including donating to this remarkable work with outstanding leadership and services.