Erwin Trejo: A New Life
December 7, 2017
Change comes in many forms, and often times one must hit rock bottom for redemption.
Erwin Trejo is an example of how someone can turn their life around after entering a path of criminal activity and violence.
“I had a lot of love and support from my family in my youth,” Trejo shared with La Prensa San Diego. “I had everything.”
Despite the positive environment at home, he began to fall with individuals to whom he refers to as “the wrong crowd,” people who got him involved in gang activity and drugs.
Then, at just 14 years old, Trejo was sent to juvenile hall for the first time, this after stealing some beers and using a knife.
Trejo recalls that even though he was a good student, with math and history being his favorite subjects, he didn’t feel like studying anymore once inside juvenile hall and dropped out as a 10th grader.
“I was more interested in clowning around and scratching up tables in class,” Trejo shared.
In his adolescence, Trejo was repeatedly going in and out of juvenile hall until he was 18 years old.
One day, in a dispute over $10, Trejo severely beat a friend using a hatchet.
“My mom called the police and they put me in County jail,” he confessed.
Within County custody, Trejo had a revelation: he needed a change in his life.
“In jail I saw that I had to begin following the word of God,” Trejo said. “I found God and started to do things the right way, I asked for forgiveness and returned to my studies.”
When he was released from his final prison sentence, Trejo was sent around to several assistance organizations in an effort to guide him into a normal life.
He received aid from a six-month program offered by a local services provider the court referred him to but was kicked out for using drugs while in their program.
On July 21, 2016, in a final effort to lead a good life, Trejo went to the San Diego Rescue Mission, an organization which provides shelter, meals, and transitional services to vulnerable individuals.
“I knew the Rescue Mission was my last hope. Other programs had openings every four to six weeks but the Rescue Mission has open beds every Monday for those seeking help,” Trejo said.
Over the course of the last 16 months, Trejo has made significant progress in reaching some goals many take for granted, such as getting a driver’s license and receiving his GED.
A partnership between the Rescue Mission and San Diego Continuing Education allowed Trejo to complete coursework, which lead him to earn his high school equivalency diploma, and was actually the first person to reach this goal through the partnership between the two organizations.
“My family is proud and happy, like they won the lottery,” exclaimed Trejo, who is currently 27 years old.
With this milestone reached, he is now planning goals for his professional future as a drug and alcohol counselor and is considering taking his first steps next year at San Diego City College.
Also, Trejo currently works as an intern within the San Diego Rescue Mission’s intake program, which welcomes in people who have fallen on hard times into the organization. He shares his experiences and testimony which lead him to change his life with people who also seek to improve their lives.
Trejo lives by the words expressed in 2 Corinthians 5:7, stating that his old life of gang violence and drugs has passed and a new life has come to him.
It is by this verse which he will continue to walk towards his goals and lift up those who need help.