Student-Success-Dillon-Powell-Small

Hear my story of how I succeeded at Respect Academy:

My Steps To Success:

  • Realized that I can change my life
  • Enrolled at Respect Academy
  • Was consistent with my job
  • Graduated in 2015

My Story:


In today’s Respect Academy Podcast, we have Dillon Powell.

Dillon has gone through some rough times such as growing up in a bad environment, getting involved with the wrong people, loss of a father figure, and depression.

And yet after all those trials, tribulations, and adversities, he’s managed to pull through stronger and more enlightened about life, and himself.

Read on to see the challenges people face growing up in a gang ridden and drug filled world.

Give his story a read or listen. And perhaps it’ll help point you in the right direction.


David:

Alright, I have Dillon Powell here. He is currently an employee at Jimmy Johns. He’s worked there for over 2 years now. He’s made some recent breakthroughs in his life and he was a student at Respect Academy.

Dillon, how are you doing today?

Dillon:

I’m doing good. How are you doing?

David:

Doing well, doing well. Thanks for asking buddy.

I just want to start off this interview by asking you…

Is there a famous quote that you live by and why?

Dillon:

A famous quote I live by is, “You’re never on time, unless you’re early.” And that’s because the quote is about being more prepared and always ahead of the game.

“You’re never on time, unless you’re early.”

David:
I love it, it’s important to early, right?

Dillon:

Always.

David:

(Laughing)… Dillon, can you tell me a bit about what you do right now?

Dillon:

Right now, what I do, I’m working to help support my younger sister and brother. And trying to find a good career job with good education. That’s what I’ve learned with Respect Academy.

David:

That’s awesome. So you’re taking care of a little one right now?

Dillon:

Yeah not too little, but she’s teenage. Little sister kinda needs the support for her life, so I’m best be there for her.

David:

Do you have any other siblings, Dillon?

Dillon:

Yeah, I have 3 older sisters that are far in their careers, and I have 2 nephew and a niece. And I have a younger brother named Daniel with autism.

David:

Okay. So you have a pretty big family, it sounds like.

Dillon:

Yeah.

David:

How important is the family to you?

Dillon:

My family is important to me because they’re the only ones here when family starts fallin’ apart, so My family is the one that pushed me and made me better and have the abilities I have.

David:

That’s good, that’s good.

So tell me

What was your life and situation like before you attended Respect Academy?

Dillon:

Ha a lot of trouble.

Umm I was just kinda lost didn’t know exactly what to do. Wasn’t quite in the right crowd more or less. And me and my mom kinda split I mean, our relationship fell, and I Kinda dropped out of school for half a year and was lost then… And then I talked to Mr. Daniel Medina at Lincoln, and he told me about Respect. And when I called them Mrs. Linair answered and that was my principle for middle school. So it kinda started right there and she gave me a little speech that I could do anything that I wanted. So, my life turned around 180 once I got into Respect.

“my life turned around 180 once I got into Respect.”

David:

Wow that’s awesome. When you say, I was getting into a lot of trouble what was your life like? Like, how did you grow up, and what do you think caused you to be around the wrong crowd? And what was going on through your head at that time?

Dillon:

I never really had anyone there to tell me what was wrong… what was right And I always grew up around a bad environment. Gang affiliate and around drug use. And my grandpa who was my father figure died when I was about 11 years, and it crushed me. I did nothing but go downhill from there. And, I didn’t know no better than breaking the law and just not caring and putting my family through a lot of stress and seeing them hurt. And I just had to finally grow up I mean I thought about my grandpa’s words being spoken to me and they don’t want to live in disappointment.

“I didn’t know no better than breaking the law and just not caring and putting my family through a lot of stress and seeing them hurt.”

David:

Yes, yes. I can understand when you don’t have your father figure and you don’t really have that direction, and you can feel pretty lost, huh?

Dillon:

Yeah, I was about… umm I was actually about right before when I got into Respect, I was going to a school downtown called Ace. It’s an alternative school, and I started educating myself.

David:

Yeah, yeah exactly. So where do you feel like in your life

What was the biggest success you had after going through Respect Academy? What area in your life do you feel like you succeeded the most?

Dillon:

I honestly think it was probably the 4 months before I went to Respect. My mom didn’t me and my mom were still trying to build our relationship and I feel I needed to get money I couldn’t do it in a bad way you know. So I was pushing my hardest to get a job… and I got a job. I came home and told my mother and she didn’t believe me at first just because who I was at the time.

It was the biggest success just because I finally brought home a check and I handed it to her and said, “This is for us.”And that was the biggest success just because I never thought I’d ever see myself at that level when I was just at rock bottom a year ago.

David:

That’s an amazing story. Just being able to walk in, hand your mother a check, and say this is for us.

How old are you right now Dillon?

Dillon:

I’m 18

David:

18 And how old were you when you went to respect academy?

Dillon:

I started at Respect Academy when I was 17. I started the beginning of October.

David:

Got you. So you turned your life around. You were able to hand your mother a check. And really just transform

What steps did you have to make to make that transformation? What did you physically, or mentally have to do to make those changes and take those steps?

Dillon:

Well at first I had to get away from the crowd I was in, and drop a lot of people that were around me. And then I had to start getting to know myself, and to understand how I worked in my head. So I could control situations better, and know my awareness. So the biggest was probably, honestly the dropping all the friends and learning patience with life and my meaning will come I just gotta keep pushing and thriving.

“… honestly the dropping all the friends and learning patience with life and my meaning will come”

David:

Yeah, no that’s awesome that’s really awesome Dillon.

Where do you feel Respect Academy played in that role? How did they help you take those steps?

Dillon

For once in my schooling, the teachers were there. I mean there was no waiting the whole class or the teachers weren’t just there for a check. I mean Respect, they’re there for you that school applies respect. They care about every student, and they push every student even if the student gives up and falls. They push that student harder and harder to achieve and that was the biggest thing that got me… my teachers were there and they helped me and they spent their time with me. Like, Dr. Chalmers’ class, my teachers pushed me and they pushed me to do it, because they knew I could do it even though I thought I couldn’t. And Respect carries a big rule like that.

“Respect, they’re there for you… they just the school applies respect.”

David:

So you feel that the teachers were really there! They weren’t there just to collect money and just do it for a job. They were there for a bigger reason. They actually care about the students, from what it sounds like you’re telling me.

Dillon:

Exactly.

David:

That’s awesome. It sounds to me, you really resonate with it. Let me ask you this Dillon,…

Why is success so important to you?

Dillon:

Because everything single person or friend or family member I’ve had has just never been successful, and they’re always negative in life. And with everything I’ve seen and been through, I’ve finally just I don’t want to be like the rest. I want to do something better for my family when I grow up. When I’m older, and have my own grand kids. I want to be successful, and have a story.

David:

Yeah, yeah. So it sounds like you’ve had this experience of transformation, Dillion, where you’ve learned that success… it’s attainable. It’s simple. It’s just getting away from the negative people in your life, staying away from trouble, and surrounding yourself with people that you want to be more like.

Does that sound right?

Dillon:

Yeah. And that’s the thing I’ve noticed is that that’s the hardest thing for this generation I live in is it’s harder for people to let go of the negatives. Because there are so many of them around.

David:

Yes. Versus, maybe there’s people out there that you can talk to and hang out with that look at life differently and they’re very positive. Because there’s also, just as many negatives as there is positives, right.

Dillon:

Correct.

David:

Yeah.

So you’ve had this transformation, you had this realization this new look on life, what are you gonna do now? Like, what wakes you up what get’s you excited every single day right now?

Dillon:

Getting closer to moving up. More jobs are opening. I’m starting to get a lot more phone calls and emails and I’m sorry my heart races, just because I know that my time is coming, and that I’m gonna get a good job me and my family moved out of this environment, and we can be in a better environment. And everyday I wake up, that’s just all I think about. Gotta go make this money and press harder to the next day.

“my heart races, just because I know that my time is coming, and that I’m gonna get a good job me and my family moved out of this environment,…”

David:

Yes. Where do you see yourself 10 years from today.

Dillon:

I honestly see myself owning a small business just because, that’s what I’ve always wanted to do. I want to open some type of business just to say I did it. And I don’t want to just go up and beyond and make good money, I wanna make as much as I can. I want to be financially free.

David:

Wow. So you want to be financially free, have your own business, and really take control of your life from what it sounds like.

Dillon:

Yeah. And it’s gonna be a lot of patience and hard work so I’m lookin’ forward to it.

David:

Let’s say you looked back at yourself 2 to 3 years ago, when you were younger kinda getting into trouble

What would you tell that person that’s going through the same struggles?

Dillon:

Best thing I could say, and I got this from honestly being in school suspension so much that there was this picture on the wall and it said, “Don’t be afraid to take your own path.” And, what I can say for anyone that’s struggling is that…even though you might be struggling, and have no friends or nothing going through it, you just gotta have that courage and believe in yourself more than anyone else does to do it. And just look yourself in the mirror and find out who you are, and not what people think you are, not who you think you are to people, and find out who you are, and work on yourself.

“Don’t be afraid to take your own path.”

David:

Wow those are some powerful words. Well Dillion, I want to say thank you so much for taking your time and sharing your story. Thank you for being vulnerable. I can tell that you’re gonna go places, man. It’s awesome to hear your story.

Dillon:

Thank for calling. I’m glad to serve.