Nerds in the Hood

nerds“They said, “We got our own commandments. We got our own code that we live by.” And they began to list them. “Thou Shalt Not Snitch. Thou Shalt Not be No Punk. Thou Shalt Get Thy Money On. Thou Shalt Get Thy Respect. Thou Shalt be Down for Thy Homey Right or Wrong.” I turned around and looked at them and said, “Well no wonder you’re in jail.” — Joseph Marshall, co-founder Omega Boys Club

Nerds in the Hood
looks at kids from some of the toughest streets on both coasts who have managed, despite their harsh backgrounds, to become exemplary achievers.  We profile a former San Francisco drug dealer whose business cost him the use of his legs, but whose second act includes study at UCLA.

In one of the more touching moments in the hour-long story, Walter Simon talks about coming to terms with being a paraplegic as a result of his drug dealing.  “Generally I feel like karma is real. And just because I’m sitting in this wheelchair and I’m hurt and I don’t have my ability to walk anymore, I don’t use that as a reason for me to sit around and say, ‘Oh, woe is me.’ Because there’s a lot of people that’s probably waking up right now that I caused a lot of hurt and a lot of trauma. And, so I’m appreciative of my existence. And even though I did get shot eight times, I have found some enlightenment. I’m not here to sell drugs. I’m not here to shoot people. Not here to rob people. I’m here because I have something to contribute. I’m here because my life is salvageable.”

In the program we also meet others who, with the help of some special mentors, have transformed their lives in similar ways.

Listen to a sample of Nerds in the Hood

Listen to the full documentary

Walter Simon, a member of the Omega Boys Club, talks about moving with his family to neighborhood near the Fillmore District in San Francisco before he became a drug dealer.

Walter Simon, a member of the Omega Boys Club, talks his initiation into drug dealing.

Dr. Joseph Marshall, co founder and director of the Omega Boys Club, talks about discovering the commandments of the hood.

Jack Jacqua, co founder of the Omega Boys Club, talks about setting straight a prison guard who believed there was no point in caring about inmates. This was recorded during a Tuesday night Family Meeting in Omegas San Francisco headquarters.