My name is Devon J Hall and I used to attend a program at PYCS. I wanted to write about them because Pappa Orville called me today to check in and reminded me of a lot of stuff I had forgotten.
Orville is Orville Lee from the Saskatchewan Rough Riders, but I didn’t know that when I met him. I just knew him as a guy who wanted to help at-risk youth, and I was an at-risk youth who needed help. I was 23 when we met, and the first question he asked me was “who is your hero?”
I told him my hero was 2Pac Shakur, and when he asked me why I told him flatly it was because Pac had shown me a world I didn’t know existed. Kids with guns and drugs, and music combined to create a man who taught me about a world filled with gangs, drugs, and child abuse. He was the first Black man to speak a language I could understand, even though gang life wasn’t yet my reality.
I floundered after I left PYCS. I ended up working at the church not quite sure where I wanted to be, or what I wanted to be in my life. Over the years Orville has reached out to check in to see where I am and what I am doing, and I couldn’t have been more proud of anyone in the world than I was when I told him I’d decided to self-publish my first book.
Today I got to tell him I’m an author of a third book being put out by Surrey Shares later this year. I love telling Orville that I am doing well and that he didn’t fail with me. I love letting him and his amazing wife Ruth know that things are going well for me, even though I’m struggling in some areas. I’m still moving forward and he is a reminder and has been throughout the years, of that fact.
Back when I was at PYCS I didn’t smoke weed at all, now I’m a Certified Cannabis Healer, which means that as I further my education about the plant I’ll be able to teach others how to use cannabis safely.
I’m a 2-time self-published author, with a business that revolves around writing, education, amplification, and mental health. All the things that I am passionate about are on this website for the world to see. And none of it would have happened if Orville and Ruth hadn’t been there for me.
I would say, honestly, that being at PYCS taught me what it means to have friends in the community where I live. It taught me that it’s okay to mess up, there is always a place for me in this world, even though it doesn’t feel like it all of the time.
I’ll be 40 years old this year, it’s so strange to me that Orville Lee to many is a football hero when to me he’s just papa Orville, the guy that changed my life and showed me that I have a place in this rock.
So to celebrate, they are doing all kinds of new initiatives that I hope to help share and spread about here. If you’d like to support any of the many programs that PYCS offers you can do so with a donation to their main website here.
Sending all my love,
Devon J Hall
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