My name is Eddie Larson and this is my story of how I changed my life around. I grew up on the citys south side which had one of the highest amounts of teen pregnancy and crime rates and also common gang violence. I, myself wasnt a gang member but our culture and our brown skin labelled us all.As I made my way into high school things became harder. I began giving into peer pressure and I started to struggle. If things inside school werent making my life hard enough, outside influences sure were. I got in many fights in and out of school and I had incidents with the law many a time. I even recall once being held at gun point. I had bad grades, I failed everything. I just wasnt interested, I saw no point.It was then one eventful school day I decided to change my ways. It was during lunchtime that Benny, our gang leader, handed me over a brown paper bag and told me to go over to the Mercedes parked on the curb. I knew it was the wrong thing to do but I wasnt going to stand up to Benny, not today anyways. As I approached the car, the man inside rolled down his window and to my surprise he grabbed me by the collar of my shirt. Before I knew what was going on Benny approached and shot the man in the head. I later found out he was a cop.It was that week that I dropped out of high school in grade 11 and by then end of next week none of our gang remained. But I didnt want anything to do with them. It was earlier the next year that I started hanging out with people that also struggled but were now in college. This was when I started to realise that my life wasnt ruined, there was still hope.At first I was denied entry into the technical college so I sought out help from the Opportunities Centre, who managed to get me enrolled. I am now 24 and in my senior year of college hoping to graduate and become a therapist. Im looking forward to a bright future. If I could say one thing to any child going down the path of self-destruction I would say to them Nothing can change the past but you can do something to change the future. Don't be afraid to fail, it only creates chances of opportunities for new things.You may be wondering what happened to Benny and the others. Once I decided I was going to turn over a new leaf I went to the police and informed them what had happened to the cop in the Mercedes. As a result Benny and the gang are locked up for a very long time.