My name is Nediko Bradley and I am 28 years old. I became part of Neighborhood Hope’s program 10 years ago when I was 17. NH helped me a lot, starting out on Wednesday nights, as a teenager. We could come get a meal and have a safe place with good people to talk to and get help staying out of trouble. It introduced me to a different way of thinking.
As a teen, I wasn’t being conscious of my decision making or being accountable for a lot of my actions and the program helped introduce that. It also led me to Cathy Jones, who has made a huge impact in my life teaching me to think and be better and not take a turn for the worse! Cathy, since I’ve know her, always has taken the extra step! It used to blow my mind and I would think how does this lady do all of this? At the time when I met her, I was honestly at a point where my mind was becoming idle and I could have cared less about the program or about walking in a positive direction. I was the kid who was easily distracted and could slip away without being noticed but she saw something in me and had the drive to push me and grab me back in before it was too late. I needed that more than I knew!
Cathy led me to Christ and from a teen until now she has NEVER stopped! I learned that it’s ok to be who I am and still love God! That being different and a good person, ultimately a Christian, aren’t boring! I also learned how to get a plan and stick to it. She has become a part of my family and always inspired me to keep striving for greater.
As an adult, the program has helped me to pour back into youth, give the same blessing that was given to me. To me, pouring into young people is something that cannot ever stop. One of the biggest obstacles, in my opinion, is I wish we had more resources for the program to be bigger. It impacted me so much. I would love to see this be a huge part of Charlotte and be able to touch lives all over in mass numbers. The lessons I have learned, moments of encouragement, acts of love and generosity- even being lead to Christ are unimaginable ways the program and Cathy have forever impacted my life for the better.