MAAFA Redemption Project Graduate Discovers God’s Calling for His Life
Ask 31-year-old Quentin Harris where he sees himself in 10 years and he names the program that helped him imagine a future for the first time.
“I see MAAFA, just bigger,” said Harris, who currently serves as a Program Manager and Life Coach with the MAAFA Redemption Project in Chicago. “I think we should start something for younger kids because a lot of us get to a certain age and we’re already messed up.”
MAAFA is a faith-based residential institute located in Chicago’s West Garfield Park neighborhood. MAAFA serves at-risk young men of color (ages 18-30), providing dormitory-style residential support, workforce training, character/spiritual-development, and other wrap-around social services.
Thanks to your faithful support, We Raise Foundation, in partnership with the MIGMIR Fund, awarded MAAFA a $300,000 grant in 2020 to champion their transformative work.
Harris knows from personal experience the program’s impact. He first noticed a big change in his best friend Malcom Davis after he joined the nine-month program. But it took Harris two years to try MAAFA for himself. At that point, Harris was traumatized by the death of family members, friends and family going to jail, and the sense that he couldn’t trust anyone. He quickly learned that MAAFA was a place to build trust, relationships, and new beginnings.
Not only did Harris complete the program and receive a job offer from MAAFA, but he earned his high school diploma in September 2020 and was accepted into Arrupe, a two-year associate’s program through Loyola University Chicago. Once that’s completed, Harris plans to transfer to Marquette University to work on a bachelor’s degree in social justice studies.
“Quentin Harris is currently on staff helping to recruit future participants and creating programming for alumni to stay connected to MAAFA,” notes Rev. Marshall Hatch Jr., MAAFA Executive Director and Coach. “Quentin might just be the quintessential ‘MAAFA man.’ He represents the kind of individual transformation and community leadership that we hope all our young men embrace.”
Harris is grateful to We Raise donors for supporting MAAFA. “I don’t know where I would be or what I would be doing if MAAFA wasn’t available for me,” he said. “It’s really emotional because I’ve lost so many friends in the streets and family members through substance abuse. And you have to be patient with the process—this change doesn’t happen overnight.”
Hatch noted that it’s been a blessing to work with Quentin. “As a participant in our third cohort, he quickly threw himself into MAAFA’s culture and ethos,” he said. “By allowing himself to be challenged and discipled by our Spiritual-Life coaching staff, Quentin began to see God’s unique call on his own life.”
Harris feels that God set up his whole life for this moment. “I’ve always been a leader, but I was just leading in the wrong direction,” he said. “So now I’m still a leader but now I’m leading in the right direction.”
Thanks to the support of We Raise donors, young men in the MAAFA cohorts are transforming themselves and their community to a place of wholeness.