" It was summer of 82', I remember as if it was yesterday. I saw my friend snorting it, and I though
Originally from Wilson, North Carolina, Cleveland had a wonderful childhood growing up. Was raised by both parents, who were preachers and had a house full of siblings, 13 siblings. Having so many children, his parents decided to form them into a gospel group. The small gospel group would go by the name, The Finches.
Around the age of 16, a lot began to change for Cleveland. He had become rebellious towards his mother and father, refusing to follow their directions, and back talked them too. Cleveland became so disobedient that he moved out and went to live with a friend. This would ultimately become the worst decision he ever made.
Cleveland lived with his best friend and family for two years. During those two years, his best friend introduced him to crack cocaine.
"It was summer of 82', I remember as if it was yesterday. I saw my friend snorting it, and I thought to myself, this doesn't look right. He then told me that he wouldn't give me anything that would hurt me, so I trusted him. That day, that moment, destroyed my life forever." said Cleveland.
In 1983, he began to steal from the local business, and when that wasn't enough, he started to steal from his own family. "They wouldn't want me around the house anymore; they would hide everything from me so that I wouldn't take it." Arrested in 83' for breaking and entering, served 13 months in prison. For 25 years, Cleveland would be in and out of jail for a total of 11 times.
After his release in 2016, he refused to let those same demons he was facing hold him back any longer. He promised himself that he was going to make a change in his life! Cleveland has been actively volunteering at Greensboro urban ministry, where he is currently living. He's also been around different churches in the Greensboro area, sharing his testimony.
Cleveland hopes to one day become a motivational speaker to children and troubled young teens, to help them get on the right path. "I've been a taker all my life; it's time for me to be a giver."