Growing up, Tariq’s mother was not involved in his life, and his father died when he was just 11 years old. Tariq was raised by his grandmother, who provided him with love and support. However, Tariq harbored a lot of negativity, religious doubts in particular. This weighed him down and led him to become involved in a gang during high school, where he felt more understood. Upon graduating and completing a year of community college, Tariq’s gang involvement resulted in an arrest with 10 months in county jail. A week after Tariq returned home, his mother died.
“I really just went downhill,” Tariq said of his mother’s passing. He was soon arrested again, this time for three years. Upon release, Tariq tried to get his life back together but found himself slipping back into old ways. In 2010, he was arrested and given a five-year sentence. This time, Tariq was determined to change his mindset. He began studying the laws of the universe and karma, which motivated him to improve his future.
“I had to literally change my whole way of thinking… I came to the conclusion that I have to love myself.” Tariq said surrounding himself with good people had a significant impact on where he is today. When he found the NJRC, he said it tremendously lightened his burden and motivated him to think positively. He credits the program with his successes and expresses genuine gratitude for those who have helped him.
All of Tariq’s efforts, along with his positive attitude, have paid off. He was recently promoted to a full time position at the Hudson County Parks and Rec Department, where there are opportunities for advancement. His new employer will even pay for college courses. Tariq expressed great excitement for his new position and for his future. Now working full time, he can save for his own apartment, establish a family, and even get back into his passion: singing and songwriting.