Convict-turned-Harvard fellow helps Richmond inmates

Convict-turned-Harvard fellow helps Richmond inmates
Andre Norman says his message resonates because he's been there, "found myself in the street, found myself in gangs, went through juvenile detention, ended up in state prison."

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - He's been convicted of violent crimes, but now he works with some of the most prestigious universities in the world - and he made a trip to Richmond to help the area get a handle on crime.

Andre Norman says his message resonates because he's been there, "found myself in the street, found myself in gangs, went through juvenile detention, ended up in state prison."

He's been convicted of armed robbery, armed home invasion and armed car-jacking, and while he was in jail he was convicted of two attempted murder charges.

But then he explains, "I just had an epiphany, I had that moment where I wanted to change my life around."

While in prison, he earned his GED and studied law. When he got out, he started working with kids. Then, Harvard University.

"I got my email, anorman@law.harvard.com and it's just to say that people believed in me," Norman said.

Richmond's sheriff believes Norman can help inmates here, so she brought him to town.

"No matter where you come from, you can also do things that are positive and be a positive impact on the community," Sheriff Antionette Irving said.

Norman explains, "because a lot of these kids are growing up with the same circumstance. People are neglecting them, people aren't standing up for them, and they internalize the pain."

He's teaching members of the community how trauma impacts people years later, so down the road, they can hopefully turn the same corner he did.

"What I would say to a 15 year old version of Andre is the same thing the sheriff says every day. She doesn't speak to their potential, she speaks to their pain because it's their pain that's holding them down," Norman said.

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