By Clyde Hughes | AC JosepH Media, where he admitted it got into more trouble than he should have.
But when a friend of the family died in the violence, the teen father of two decided he needed a change in his life – a clean break from the problems he was seeing and getting caught up in.
But when a friend of the family died in violence, the teen father of two decided he needed a change in his life – a clean break from the problems he was seeing and getting caught up in.
Now, an Army National Guard veteran with two tours of duty in Iraq, a founder of a youth nonprofit, coach and author, those early days are now part of his testimony to help other at-risk youth. Bowleg said he is ready to expand that service by running for Millville city commissioner.
"I needed an out," Bowleg, a Gouldtown native, said of his time before going to the National Guard. "That's what the military provided for me, an opportunity to stabilize myself, to find that discipline and routine. I started developing those teamwork skills and being accountable."
That drive to be accountable led him to start the Youth LOVE (Love and Optimism Vindicates Everyone) Movement when returned to Millville in 2011. From the grassroots level, Bowleg and his family started inviting youth to his home to connect with them at the closest points possible.
"I felt we could focus on reducing the high rate of high school dropouts, teen pregnancy and incarceration in Cumberland County," Bowleg said of the Youth LOVE Movement. "At our house, we started reading and comprehension program We thought about finding creative ways for the kids to do community service.
"We started planning trips. Our aim was just to assist the youth we served to acquire the skill sets necessary to thrive in the classroom, overcome behavioral issues, build their self-esteem and connecting them with positive, cultural activities," he said.
The Youth LOVE Movement has done everything from homework programs and food pantries, along with connecting to the City of Millville.