HAMPTON, Va. (WVEC) --- You’ll learn what family really stands for off Sheffield Street in Hampton.
It’s here, inside Curtis and Candice Harris’s home, that a parent's love isn’t defined by blood but by action.
“If I’m saying our children need us, then guess what? I need to open up my front door,” said Curtis.
The Hampton pastor has devoted his life to opening doors for troubled youth.
“I used to be one of these young men,” said Curtis.
He’s talking about young men like Ceandre Bailey.
“When I was younger, it was rough,” said Ceandre.
Ceandre is autistic.
He also grew up without the support of parents in his life.
“I had so much anger in my younger years because I kept thinking about what I didn’t have,” said Ceandre.
But that was before he met the Harris’ one year ago.
“I told him to call me,” said Curtis Harris. “He called me and a few days later they brought him to me.”
A judge granted Ceandre’s release from the Chesapeake Juvenile Center, but only if the then-17-year-old had somewhere to go.
“It was something special,” said Curtis. “As soon as he came out we had him a birthday party.”
And today he is no longer a troubled teenager, but an 18-year-old man with a purpose.
A man who plans to graduate from high school next year and hopefully go to college.
“When I graduate, I will just try to be successful,” said Ceandre.
He is also a man who now understands, like his Curtis and Candice, the best service you can preach is the one you live.
“That’s a legacy they can pass onto their children and pay it forward,” said Curtis. “And help somebody else.”