I grew up in poverty and lived in urban America (The Hood). Not knowing where my next meal would come from inspired me to build a wagon and a shoeshine box to make money. Who knew the youngest of four would accept the responsibility of helping my mother provide for the family. Now, as a grown man, while looking back on my past and reflecting on lessons learned, I am happy to be alive and thank God I survived.
I had many uncles who mentored me and helped to shape me into the man I became. Giving honor to my mother, Juanita Hayes Allen, I wanted to help women and children who are in abusive and dysfunctional relationships, so I started The National Fund For the Awareness of Violence Against Women and Children (Nava Fund), to encourage others to reach beyond their circumstances and realize their full potential by focusing on where they are going, not where they come from.