SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- In solitary confinement, Malik Wade made a decision that would change his life and the lives of at-risk youth in the San Francisco Bay Area.
"I knew eventually that I would be out of prison, so I just started to figure out what I wanted to do once I got out," said Wade. "And I knew that I wanted to give back to my community."
Wade's life changed forever when he sold his first rock of crack cocaine at the age of 15. By 22 years old, Wade had made the FBI's wanted list, which spawned years spent on the run. At age 29, he plead guilty to drug charges, and served 14 years in federal prison.
Throughout his sentence, Wade developed a plan for opening a nonprofit, rooted in his mission to assist at-risk youth in economically disadvantaged communities.
In 2013, Wade founded Scholastic Interest Group (SIG) to guide young men toward reaching their full potential with a specialized personal development program. SIG also provides student athletes with the skills necessary for college preparation, career readiness, and community service.
ABC7 News conducted a face-to-face conversation with Malik Wade to learn more about his work as a mentor and leading voice for inner city youth.
"I think that we all have a responsibility to young folks, you know, we have responsibility to try to impart a small amount of information that can help them navigate this world," said Wade.
"I try not to be judgmental, but just speak to young folks. Make them feel worthy, make them feel loved, make them feel cared about."
To learn more about Malik Wade's journey, read his book "Pressure: From FBI Fugitive to Freedom," in which Wade describes the societal forces that shaped him and details his journey toward self-improvement.
For more information on Scholastic Interest Group, visit here.
You can watch "Our America: Living While Black" on-demand with the ABC7 Bay Area app wherever you stream.
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