DECATUR, GA - On Wednesday, Nov. 18, Grammy award-winning artist Lecrae shared his journey to restoration with Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) youth during a visit to the Rockdale Regional Youth Detention Center (RYDC) to inspire youth to reach for their dreams. Lecrae is not only a platinum-selling recording artist but also a New York Times best-selling author, entrepreneur, speaker, thought leader, and philanthropist.
Youth from DJJ's Chat and Chew Book Club at the Rockdale RYDC and female youth from the Macon Youth Development Campus (YDC) discussed life topics with Lecrae, including how he handles his success, money management, maintaining integrity in difficult situations, and the importance of self-worth.
"I am grateful Lecrae was able to spend this vital time with our youth," said Commissioner Tyrone Oliver. "It is important for youth to hear positive messages from someone they admire and respect. Lecrae's story is truly inspirational and we will continue to provide opportunities like these to youth to show them that their past experiences do not determine their future."
Lecrae donated copies of his book, I Am Restored: How I Lost My Religion but Found My Faith, to youth ahead of his visit to the Rockdale facility. He performed several of his hit records, including the single "Set Me Free" off his latest album, Restoration. Approximately ten female youth from the Macon YDC were able to join the Chat and Chew virtually.
"Today was incredible," said Lecrae about his visit with DJJ youth. "They had great questions and it was very authentic. My hope for youth in these circumstances is that they understand that this is not the end of their story."
He shared the critical role his faith plays in his everyday life, his struggles with growing up in a rough neighborhood, his experiences with incarcerated loved ones, what motivates him to be better, and how writing helped him process his emotions.
Lecrae first began visiting incarcerated youth before his first album after one of his closest friends asked him to volunteer. "Hopefully, it is a seed planted," said Lecrae. "The work is never done and I'm just a little blip on the radar, but I feel like the staff here is continuing to do the work. I'm glad that I could support everything that they are already doing."
The Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice is a multi-faceted agency that serves the state's youthful offenders up to 21 years of age. The Department's mission is to transform young lives by providing evidence-based rehabilitative treatment services and supervision, strengthening youth and families' well-being, and fostering safe communities.