Home Be Informed Gangs and Economics : My personal Experience By Jeffrey Lestz, Co-CEO Genistar...

Gangs and Economics : My personal Experience By Jeffrey Lestz, Co-CEO Genistar Ltd.


How does a kid go from a gang on the streets , dealing drugs and homeless to becoming a Millionaire in an honest way?

My story like most kids who end up in gangs started out tough. When I was 5 years old my father committed suicide and left our family in poverty.

He had lost his job and business and was depressed and ended his own life.
My mother turned to drugs and drink to blot out the pain. A few years later she died and from my age 7 until 12 I was shuffled in and out of foster homes and an orphanage. I was bitter about life and the hand that life had dealt me.
I ran away from home and it seemed no one loved me and I turned to a gang for my family. Homeless, hungry and scared living on the streets at age 12 I joined a gang . This provided leadership and a sense of belonging to a family. Drugs and petty crime provided me money to live on.

I was stuck on the streets from age 12-15 and fell deeper into the lifestyle of selling and using drugs. Friends around me were dying from drug overdose and gang fights.
At age 15 I surprised myself and cried out to God for help. Quite honestly I did not believe in God. Why should I? Life sucked and there seemed to be no way out of this life of desperation, poverty and hopelessness.

At aged 15 I was taken into a foster home by a young man,21 years old and he became my foster father. He and the local Minister of a church became my mentors. I really wanted to change and these 2 men provided me with the belief and coaching to do just that. They gave me books to read and I went back to school. 
One of the first books was ‘The power of positive thinking” By Norman Vincent Peale. Boy! Did I ever need a good dose of looking at life positive.

I began to believe that it was not so important where I came from in my past but rather where I was going with my future. I had to discipline myself to quit thinking and living with a ‘victim mentality’ and realise there were a lot of people willing to help me but the first step was my desire to want to change.
I moved some 400 miles away to escape the influence of my former life. I had to change my surroundings.

I went back to High School and onto University for a few years. At age 19 I got into the financial services business and again found a few great mentors.
I went onto succeed and in fact turned my life of poverty into the drive to succeed. I turned my pain into a passion to help people to be smart about money.
I studied about the practical ways to make, save and invest money and by the time I was 31 years old had become a millionaire. My passion is teaching people how money works, how life works.

It is hard to believe that that life of being in a gang and being homeless was many years ago and yet it is still indelible in my mind.

For me a life of crime, drugs and a gang were not what I really wanted but I knew no other way out and turned to this lifestyle out of desperation.

I know today there are a lot of young people stuck in this same rut and would like to get out of that lifestyle, but have no idea how to extricate themselves from that type of life.

I know this, that type of life will only lead to a dead end .I thank God every day that I did seek help, I did reach out and ask for deliverance from that life .My prayers were answered in the form of mentors and many people who helped me to help myself.

Are gangs and economics still part of our society and culture? Yes and they give people a safe haven to be instead of on the streets alone. 
Is it possible for a kid who had no hope, no future and no chance to become successful and shatter the opinions of all the people who knew him? You bet!

I can give you my personal testimony that everyday I thank God for a wonderful way of life. May I never forget where I came from. And never too proud to tell my story of desperation to success.

I know anyone can do anything if they want it badly enough.