“I lived it. I got you. I understand…”

October 14, 2022

Jaleel knows his strength is in his story. “You’re not supposed to keep what you know inside,” he says. “It’s not meant for you. It’s meant for other people.” From serving in the Marine Corps to preaching in the pulpit, Jaleel brings a wealth of experience to his work as a Tenant Support Specialist at SECU The Rise on Clanton.

He’s learned much of what he knows through adversity. Jaleel has experienced homelessness. He’s also been unjustly incarcerated. Jaleel’s life has given him deep empathy for the tenants he serves. “I can say to these folks, ‘I lived it. I got you. I understand.’”  

He built relationships with many of the tenants during his prior role at our N. Tryon Men’s Shelter. When the opportunity emerged to join our newest permanent supportive housing site, he was excited for a chance to help create a new community. “I like my team. I like the management. I like the idea we can take nothing and make it into something. It’s been inspiring to see a vision come to life.”

As a survivor of childhood abuse, Jaleel felt called to enter the mental health field. When he learned about the ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) framework, it helped him make sense of his own challenges. “The ACEs framework is a tool to help people change their direction,” he says. “When you see a pattern, you can try to avoid replicating it.”

Life has taken him from Germany to Alaska. But he’s grateful to be back home in North Carolina, honoring what he knows is his deepest calling: giving spiritual insight to those who’ve lost hope. He’s ready to share the light of wisdom he gained during his own darkest days.

“Wherever they can use me—wherever it’s beneficial, I’m willing to do it,” he says.