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Ex-con tries to clean up Wilmington

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- A string of violent crimes has many in Wilmington how we can stop the violence, and an ex-convict believes he has the solution.

Curtis Poole is a convicted murderer who has served two prison sentences. Now he’s using his life as an example of the mistakes that today’s youth don’t need to make.

"I started getting in trouble straight out of high school at 18 or 19 years old. I'm 45 now, and I never had anybody or any resources in my life to help me change," Poole said.

Coming from a single parent household Poole says he turned to the boys in the hood for a sense of belonging without knowing or caring about the consequences.

"It wasn't like it is now," Poole said. "There wasn't any initiation, no shooting or you had to go rob somebody to get initiated or get jumped in. There was none of that. Mostly it was fist fighting."

Poole says after multiple convictions, including one for second degree murder, one day he woke up and decided to make a change. However, like many who lead a life of crime he found it difficult to find support.

"Take them out of the gangs and what are they going to do then," Poole said. "Guys need resources and they need help to find out what their likes and dislikes are and what they can excel then."

Poole is now dedicating his life to reaching out to at-risk youth, and he says knowledge is the key to keeping kids out of street gangs.

"If they want to be a firefighter and they're in middle school then we need to find out what it takes to be a firefighter," Poole said. "Sports aren’t going to do it. Educating and telling them that you're proud of them and showing them a different way to go see it. You've got to start young. If you wait until you get to age 17 chances are they're not going to make it because it's already instilled in them."

That message has already gotten through to at least one child: Poole's 12-year-old son Chance.

"I won't do that in the future," Chance said. "I won't end up like the rest of the guys out here in the streets."

You can hear more of Curtis Poole's message on Wednesday nights at Wilmington City Hall, where he and members of the Prayers for the Port City group pray and discuss ways to combat crime.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.

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I am proud and glad to know

I am proud and glad to know that Curtis has given his life to Jesus and and with what he has gone through, decided to help other youth who are thinking of getting gangs or in any kind of trouble. I knew Curtis in school. Curtis, continue in what God has set forth for you to do. Don't take down, no matter what the odds seem like, God is right there with you. Don't listen to the negative talk. People always have to have fingers pointing when they have several pointing back at them. Instead of helping, they would rather open their mouths to something not worth discussing. I thank and praise God for you!!! God bless you Man of God!!!! Stay Encouraged!!!!!!turn up

Keep up the good fight!

I have known Curtis since high school and I am proud to say that I know him. What he is trying to do is amazing and if more people would join together to help the youth of today, the future of our tomorrow would be so much brighter. People constantly complain about the way society has become but do NOTHING about it. Praying for God's hand to lead you in all you do and lift these children up! A positive word goes along way. May God richly bless you and the job you are doing with these kids. Proud to know you!!

Quick to Judge

I have known this young man since high school and yes he did go down the wrong path, but since his release I have not seen him ask one person for one thing or one thin dime. He has however stated every time I see him, the desire to do something positve with his life. He doesn't wantthe last hallf of his life to be the same as the beginning. To make that change and to speak out in this day in time is a true example of his character. One comment said that to invest meant spending money. This shows the simple mindedness of many people today. An investment in a child can be something as small as what Mr. Poole stated in his interview. A kind word, saying you are proud of the accomplishments and dreams that the child has. Helping a student learn to read, teaching a child how to multipy and divide or attending an extra-curricular activity even when no child of your own is participating to cheer on the children who are. These are all investments that don't require you to give one dime to another individual. The problem is we are so guick to judge, discourage and belittle instead of encourage, promote and uplift. Instead we want to sit at home and complain of the problems while we do nothing to help create a solution. Good job Curtis. As a fellow classmate and long time friend, I commend you for the difference you are trying to create in your community and I do wish you much success with your endeavors.

thanks miss jones

as i read your comment it is truly a nice educated way to state how we should promote our youth thru simple things of kind words i always loved your spirit !!!!!!!! your family is great to have your voice

Ex-Con

Ex-Con ? Looks to me, like he's still a 'con-man'.

KIngdom Work

Whether you know it or not Curtis we go a long way back and we have both traveled the same road so to God be the Glory for what you are doing in the community , Keep pressing on for the work you are doing is not in vain

Gods Will

Curtis,

Never mind the criticisms of the world. Keep doing Gods will.

I am so proud to call these

I am so proud to call these two my friends. They are really special and yearn to do great things in our community!

Murder ? Two life sentences

Murder ? Two life sentences ? What is that now, in NC ? 18 months probation. I'm sure his victim's survivors, have a different story to tell.

He is a pure example of the problem. You can commit all the crime you want, even murder ? And be right back out, in a few years, Preaching.

The Real Answer- We need chicken-coop prisons, in Sampson County, and the Death Penalty.

Watch $50,000 in 'Creekwood Money', be given to this hustler, in a "Public Grant".

Change

First of all if you don't know his story don't judge him!!! What are you doing to better yourself and where you live?

Gramps, you DO vote right?

Gramps, you DO vote right? Is your illiteracy problem making it impossible for you to read a simple news article AND the people's names on the ballot when you VOTE IN the judges that hand down these "weak" sentences?
So quick to point fingers, yet I'd like to know: how are YOU going to volunteer to help be a solution to the problem in our city? I know! You'll keep sitting behind your computer screen passing judgement and THAT'S IT.
I, for one, am doing a happy dance knowing someone like you won't be involved with our youth. What we don't need here are more racist, pompous asses like yourself that do NOTHING but whine and complain.
Keep strong Mr. Poole.

Why Not ? They're passing

Why Not ?
They're passing out money ($40 Million) in Creekwood, like it grows on trees. Of course, he'll have to get in line. Behind the already established, self-proclaimed "Inner-City Christian Ministers", who have been marching around, and getting "grants", fattening their pockets, for years.

learn to read

nowhere did it state he recieved 2 life sentences. It did state he had a conviction for second degree murder.

People like you who post dribble like this who are a part of the problem.

Wow, I played basketball

Wow, I played basketball with this guy the other day. Had no idea of his story. Stay positive man! Indeed, sometimes a man that has fallen and stood back up is better than the one who never fell.

positive approach

Ow Mr. Poole has an amazing story. A story that needs to be shared with the youth to show them they can change and their is hope.

Hope

You are right. THERE is hope.

Wilmington Observer

listen

Listen to the man. He knows the life from both sides. He can lead you right or wrong. Sounds to me he wants to lead you right. I will give him a chance. He does not come at you banging a Bible but rather "boys look at me and see where I have been and where I have gone". Listen to the man. Give him a chance.

ex con tries to clean up wilm

i want some ppl to understand something that only THRU GOD telling others and me thru prayers to help the problems here!!!!!! those words i said came thru him the ideas and thoughts

not really

Mr. Poole, Please give yourself credit for those thoughts and ideas. There is no god telling you anything. What you think you hear is your own ego. You know inside what you did was wrong not because of any gods but because you may actually have empathy for others.

How arrogant

You, telling Curtis Poole that you know him better than he knows himself.

You, telling Curtis Poole that he should have your perspective on religion instead of his own, despite the fact that his perspective contributed to his positive turnaround.

If you're so sure there is no God prove it.

If you weren't so full of yourself you would know that that's just as impossible to do as proving there is a God.

Curtis Poole

I THINK WHAT MR POOLE IS DOING IS A GREAT GESTURE. AND I LOVE HIS POINT ABOUT REACHING OUT TO OUR YOUTH EARLIER! YES, WE NEED TO HELP/STOP THIS NOW! BUT WE REALLY NEED TO PREVENT OUR YOUNGER YOUTH FROM WANTING TO TRAVEL THAT RODE OF DISTRUCTION. I WANT TO OFFER MY TIME AND IDEAS TO MR. POOLE. DAPRIL GREENE 919-710-5818 MY SON 8YR OLD DEMETRIUS GREENE WAS SHOT AND KILLED IN WILMINGTON IN 1997. AND SINCE HIS MURDER THE NUMBERS HAS SPIRALED OUT OF CONTROL AND ITS SICKENING! EVERYONE NEED AND SHOULD WANT TO HELP MR. POOLE

reply to interview

while everyone is listening ! its time for ever one to take a stand and invest in the youth by any means !!!!!!!!!!

"Invest" ?

Curtis, you just told on yourself.

Stop Listening Hurry, the

Stop Listening
Hurry, the time to act is now. Every moment we wait, we lose a child.

I've heard it all before. And Mr. Poole, how much will it cost to "invest", to give you money, in this "Gift From Heaven" program of yours ?