England (Commonwealth Union) – From a life of hardship with a lack of role models, to being a role model for society, Agos Youngsam author of the book “Breaking Cycles: From Prison to Purpose” presently runs his own employment agency which he started with his wife.
The difficult childhood Agos went through growing up in a family of seven siblings saw the world as having limitations for the community he grew up in. From a young age, Agos had an entrepreneurial spirit in him. However, by observing his surroundings it seemed like the only options for entrepreneurs was crime filled with selling drugs and stealing. At the age of 14 he started selling heavy drugs such as cocaine and heroin and was also engaged in several burglaries.
Agos ended up in prison on four different occasions to which he decided he needed to make a change. He set the employment agency with his wife, where he realized that there were legitimate ways to make money instead of engaging in crime. Agos is also CEO of the organization Breaking Cycles, which was established to assist ex-prisoners resettle into their community. He is also a rapper and currently exploring more ventures. The book is currently available on Waterstones and the Amazon book store. Agos shared his views in conversation with the Commonwealth Union.
Who do you credit the most for your transformation?
To my one and only creator, and my beautiful wife, Nicola.
What would you say to the younger generation who feel that the odds are stacked against them to achieve what they want and see crime as the only option available to them?
I would say to them, crime seems like the easy way out, but in the long run it’s the hardest way out. When you feel like your back is against the wall, never believe the lie that crime is the only option, you always have other options. Help is out there, even if it’s not visible or easily accessible. Have a zero tolerance – crime is never ever the solution.
How did your work with the job agency come about, did you start fresh with your wife?
My wife and me both started afresh and built our recruitment agency business from the ground up after we received an email newsletter about staff shortages in the healthcare industry. We saw an opportunity, ran with it and never looked back!
How has your work as a rapper proceeded? Do you see it as an avenue you would pursue further?
I would love to continue my work as a rapper but only when my work schedule becomes less busy. The only difference is now, I would ensure that I would only put out positive music.
The life of a gangster is often glorified in the media, but at the same you had members of prominent gangs wanting to get out but fear being killed for leaving. Is this the same for gangs in your experience, and what would you say to any youth who holds this view and aspire of being a gangster?
In my personal experience if someone ever wanted to leave a gang, I think it’s easier than it’s made out. It’s just a choice away. I’ve never known of any instances of gang members being killed because of their decision to leave a gang. A gangster’s life is very selfish. Innocent people get hurt, including family members. A gangster’s life can end in two unfavorable ways, in prison, serving a long sentence or in a grave, buried with all the talents and potential of gifts that could have been served to the world. The world is a big place but youngsters can often confine their minds into small communities where they can feel trapped and suffocated. I encourage them to broaden their horizons and search for other ways to come out.
How have your other family members responded to your transformation, particularly your mother and brother?
My family members and close friends are pleased to see the transformation I have made in my life and some say they are inspired to make changes themselves. This makes it all worthwhile.