Joey has come a long way.

 

Joey Fuentes grew up in the small town of Selma, California. He went to school and did what most kids his age would do, but at the age of 14, he started experimenting with illegal drugs. He began to hang around with the wrong crowd and became involved in the gang lifestyle.  Joey’s behavior escalated to committing crimes and heavy drug use. Eventually, this lifestyle caught up to him and he was sent to juvenile hall.  He was in and out of juvenile hall for most of his teenage years. Joey had adapted to this lifestyle.

 

After being in and out of jail, he was sentenced to nine months in the California Youth Authority (CYA) to complete a formalized drug program. This nine month sentence turned into five years due to bad behavior. He was constantly getting into physical fights with rival gangs and received an additional charge of assault with a deadly weapon. This increased his sentence time. Joey was then transferred from CYA to the adult prison to carry out the rest of his sentence, driving him deeper into the prison system and way of life.

 

Upon his release from prison, he met his wife, Norma Nunez, who also was struggling with her own addiction. They began a family and struggled to become sober. While completing the outpatient program Joey tested positive for drugs. The court gave him an ultimatum and the opportunity to clean up his habits, or he would lose custody of his children. He made the ultimate decision to stop using drugs and give up his gang lifestyle.

 
He is now out of the prison system and has been drug free for 10 consecutive years. His wife inspired him to enroll at Fresno City College to pursue a higher education. Joey felt challenged and had a low self-esteem.  He did not believe that he could be successful in obtaining a higher education. However, for the last two years, he has successfully maintained an overall GPA of 3.75 and achieved the Dean’s List every semester. His feeling of accomplishment gave him the inner strength and drive to pursue a better life for himself and his family. Overcoming all his life challenges, he has set a goal to pursue an Associate’s Degree in Counseling. Joey’s desire is to work with youth to help them with their challenges and to mentor those who took the same path he once did.