Reginald Anderson was born and raised in South Eastern Queens New York, known as the “Southside”. Raised by a single parent Reginald Anderson the youngest boy of 11 took to the streets and learned them real fast. Learning the streets real fast only meant I had to learn the Criminal Justice system even faster. After numerous arrest and convictions for Robbery, Burglary, Weapons possession, Assaults and Drug sales and possession, and spending almost 20 years of my life in the prison system, I decided change was needed, Its never to late for change. I noticed that the prison system age range was getting younger and younger. I saw kids from my neighborhood that was 8 and 9 years old when I left, locked up for the same things I was locked up for in Clinton and Attica Correctional Facility. They talked to me like I was their hero, like they always looked up to me. I knew I had to do something to make a change, because if they was watching me, then the younger ones was watching them which mean the cycle will never end. I decided to spend most of my time in Solitary confinement that way I could stay focus and have a piece of mind. While in solitary confinement I created what is now known as the Edgar A. Anderson Struggling Teens Reach Out Now Good (S.T.R.O.N.G.) Foundation Family. Named after my father who always taught us, and showed strength while working two jobs sometimes to take care of his kids. He always said “you have to be “strong” to survive. While incarcerated I learned and taught violent programs, participated in AIDS/HIV discussion, as well as drug use and the damage that it has done within our communities. I lost so many real friends and family to the street life, whether by the hands of the streets or the police. I realized that it was my contribution, my behavior that has people dying from drug use, being killed by the street life because of what I did, being killed by the police because of what I did. I myself had to take responsibility for the conditions of the generations that followed me. I have two beautiful kids 25, and 7 as well as a 5 year old grandson. They will NOT continue this cycle. The S.T.R.O.N.G. Foundation Family are not only determined to teaching the new generation a new way, but also the prior ones. We also have a LOTOS (Life On The Out Side) program to address the people that are incarcerated or are being released back into society. S.T.RO.N.G. has violent programs training, AIDS/HIV awareness, Alcohol and Drug awareness, Life skills, domestic violence awareness, job training and searching. We are made up of a staff that are looking to change the conditions of our communities. Most of the S.T.R.O.N.G. staff has experience some or all of the negativities that our communities possess, and we stand for real change. Our Motto is “No silent cry will go unheard”.
Kaye Haynes is the product of two drug-addicted parents. Raised in Southside Jamaica, during the rise of the crack epidemic, she realized that education and community values were the means to a brighter future. She completed her baccalaureate degree in Social Science while serving her community. She has extensive volunteer experience in adult and youth education, community renewal, and entrepreneurship. She is the host of the podcast, SyandeneSpeaks, which focuses on the journey of pursuing one’s dreams and goals. Having recently lost her only daughter to heroin addiction, Ms. Haynes’ current focus is reaching other addicts and demonstrating that another life is possible. She is currently pursuing a Master’s in Public Administration and raising her three sons, ages 25, 20, and 5, while employed as an Analyst with the City of New York.
Aisha Smith, was born and raised in East Faltbush Brooklyn, New York. The second born of three and the only female. I was raised by my mother and grandmother, in a drug, and violent infested neighborhood. Making it to school was a challenge in itself. We was always taught to mind our business. So I went about my life as if nothing was going on around me. Until 2012 when my brother was murdered, my life changed forever, no family should have to experience the lost of a loved one by the hands of another person. Today I strive to bring awareness to the senseless killings that are at an alarming high in our community.