SAN ANTONIO - Many who escape a life of drugs and crime move elsewhere for a new start, away from negative influences. However, an East Side church group is doing the opposite and going back where they spent the lowest part of their lives to pull others out.
The group believes doing so could lower drug activity, and in turn, reduce violence on the East Side.
"It's all in the area right here, no further. I'm like, 'Why is this happening?' But we know why," said Darrell Clayton, pastor of the God's House church.
Clayton believes it's drug activity causing a domino effect of issues. He used to be a large part of that drug activity.
"All this was all crack houses right here. Crack addicts everywhere," he said as he walked around his East Side neighborhood.
"I grew up in the projects. You get kind of immune to your environment, so you kind of have to do what the environment does," said Roy Evans, who also still lives on the East Side despite his past.
Evans was never addicted to drugs, but he always had an up close and personal view of the violence.
"You hang with that crowd. Eventually, what the crowd (does) is what you do," he said.
At a point when he thought life would never change, Evans found God's House.
The church has a specific goal to get people off drugs, off the streets and into homes and good jobs.
When asked if he thinks that goal could decrease the violence in the area, Evans said, "Yes, it definitely would because it helped me out. Now I'm living real good. I have a career. I love to get up to go to my job. I talk about the ministry all day."
Evans uses his pride to inspire those stuck in lives of crime who often only trust people who understand them.
"Somebody did see a change in me, and they did step up and get out and now they're doing the same thing. They're going back to reach back to bring others out. It starts like a train. It helps out. It really does," he said.
It's a rare holistic view of a community: an 'all for one' vision, a refusal to leave people behind, to judge them or label them as lost.
The God's Church members believe this type of attitude may truly change the East Side for good.
In this story and in a previous story we mentioned Pastor Darrell Clayton was in prison for drug charges.
The first story about God's Church ran Wednesday night at 10 p.m. On Thursday morning, KSAT was made aware Clayton had also been charged with indecency with a child 17 years ago.
KSAT called Clayton on Thursday, and he confirmed he is a registered sex offender, saying, "I have overcome a lot of the decisions I made in the past with drugs. I pled no contest to an indecency with a child charge but maintain my innocence. Still, I have to put the past behind me and move forward."
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