Non-Profit Stories: ICAN

At Even Stevens, we partner with all kind of organizations from domestic violence to addiction recovery, elderly and hospice care to afterschool programs. We ...

At Even Stevens, we partner with all kind of organizations from domestic violence to addiction recovery, elderly and hospice care to afterschool programs. We can talk about them a million times over, but it will never truly tell you what they do for our communities.

Hearing first hand the stories of the people who have been directly impacted by the work of our nonprofit partners has had a tremendous impact on us, and we wanted to pass it along. These stories are why we do what we do; these stories fuel us to continue to eat to give.

In this post, we share a story Even Steven's non-profit partner ICAN in Chandler, Arizona

"Marcus began attending ICAN in 1997 (when he was around 18 years old). Marcus had been heavily involved in gangs throughout his youth, starting at age 11. He started fighting as early as kindergarten. By the time Marcus was 18, he had been involved with three gangs, in Chandler, Tempe, and Phoenix. He always knew that there were consequences to his actions. He graduated high school but felt like they passed him just to get him out of class. He started attending MCC but quickly got kicked out.

When Marcus turned 18, he knew well enough that some of the criminal activity he was involved in could then punish him as an adult. He decided to get out. He had read about ICAN in the paper and decided to check it out. Marcus spent about four years at ICAN. He helped with ICANN's security (making sure there was no fighting going on during the program). Being part of ICAN gave him a purpose – he was lost and not sure what he wanted to do. Marcus began classes at the Arizona Institute of Business and Technology and ended up graduating from there with honors. Marcus was greatly impacted by meeting Commander Ed Upshaw (who was then a detective). He felt that if a black man who probably faced prejudice in his life could achieve what he did, then maybe he could too!

Marcus now has a who truly means the world to him. He works at the Boeing facility as a firefighter through a Department of Defense contract. He flies with experimental aircraft and works with explosives. Marcus still has a close relationship with Commander Upshaw and enjoys coming to ICAN to spend time with the youth who are in the program now."

ICAN is a free, family-centered youth service in the East Valley providing a full complement of programs proven effective in equipping youth to achieve personal and academic success by tackling substance abuse, gang involvement and juvenile delinquency.
ICAN goes beyond being just an after-school program for at-risk youth. ICAN works with youth on the critical skills they need to be productive and responsible members of the community.
8 out of 10 young people in the areas we serve are living in extreme poverty. Four of those children will go to bed hungry at night and eight will be using drugs or alcohol to cope with the harsh realities they face. Joining gangs becomes a more viable choice than graduation in the community we serve.
This is not an option for ICAN. We exist to combat these issues and build strong futures for them and for our community.
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