In grade school, Ra’Shad didn’t always see the point of trying. But his grades eventually caught up with him. He knew deep down that he was not reaching for his potential. And while his grades were causing some distress, it was even worse because Ra’Shad knew those grades weren’t telling the truth. His leaders at By The Hand agreed and believed that Ra’Shad could do better if only he tried and had some extra support. He remembers, “They made a plan to help me finish and turn in all my missing assignments. They helped me study and get back on track.”

Ra’Shad started to see that if he simply put real effort behind his God given gifts, he might be able to tell a different story with his life. And sure enough, the struggling 5th grader has transformed into a rising 9th grader with big dreams. Ra’Shad graduated 8th grade with all A’s!

Last year, Ra’Shad was able to participate as a prosecutor in a mock trial that ignited a passion for law and the justice system. He hopes to harness his academic achievements and discipline into a great high school career, which will set him up for law school. He explains, “I dream of opening up a school of my own one day; a school for kids like me to have a chance and to discover their passions.” And beyond that, Rashad can even see himself as a judge.

The transition to high school will be an important one for Ra’Shad. New people, new obstacles, new experiences. So as he begins this new chapter, has a strong strategy: “I plan to get involved with NXT. Meet kids from other clubs and stay connected to good people.” He knows this high school expression of By The Hand will celebrate his successes and will support him whenever he needs help. Ra’Shad has become a leader and a young man who cares about his life because others were able to hold his potential for him until he was ready to take hold of it himself. And now that he has, he is unstoppable.