Home Stretch: Jason Avant

My story began in Brainerd Park on the south side of Chicago. My mother left when I was a baby, and my dad was in and out of jail, so it was up to my grandmother Lillie to raise me.

My grandmother was a very spiritual woman who loved Jesus and made us go to church on Sundays. I would always go with her, but that’s where it stopped. The other six days of the week, I was running with a gang. By sixth grade, I was selling drugs, and, by seventh grade, I was going to school drunk.