Hatteberg's People - Saving The Future After A Difficult Past: David and Lynn Gilkey

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Sunday, August 5, 2012

On Hatteberg's People, life is about choices. David and Lynn Gilkey, of Wichita, made choices that landed them on both sides of life. For nearly a decade, both the Gilkeys have been helping young people cope with life. From substance abuse to gangs, they have created programs through the Urban League of Kansas that change lives. But first, they had to change theirs.

"I was sitting in the Sedgwick County Jail about three or four in the morning. The same way I'm talking to you, God was speaking to me and he said I have a job for you. I didn't know what that job was going to be," said David Gilkey.

"And I got to a place, and to be honest, it was the Sedgwick County Jail, and in that place, I was able to renew my relationship with God," said Lynn Gilkey.

When their lives changed nearly a decade ago, they now devote all their energy to helping teens. Lynn formed a program called CLASS: Caring Ladies Assisting Students to Succeed.

"It is necessity that young girls have mentors in their lives that give them a positive direction and gives them courage and motivation," said Lynn Gilkey. "There was a promise that I made while I was in jail. It was a promise to God, that if I was to get out of this situation, I would dedicate my life to helping young girls... I believe that my life's experiences were for a reason and I believe that this is my purpose. This is what I am supposed to be doing. I embrace it, and I am just enjoying the ride."

David Gilkey also turned his life around and founded a program for young men called Do You Want to Live or Die? The program emphasizes education and positive role models with a goal of graduation and a career.

"To sit and talk with these young men and to share my experiences what I've been though, cause I've been to jail, went to prison, kicked out of college, had two drug busts. When they hear those stories they can relate and say this is someone who can relate to what I'm going through," said David Gilkey. "We have a lot of work to do as men. Period! And to see these young men dying and going to jail at a very young age, it tells me that as a man, I have a lot of work to do."

So from mean streets to life-changing turnarounds, David and Lynn Gilkey are making good on their promises to change the lives of at-risk young people in the Wichita area.

"I believe that this is my purpose, this is what I am supposed to be doing," said Lynn Gilkey.

"If I can save that 'one' I'm doing my job, if I can save two or three, that is a blessing," said David Gilkey.

The Gilkeys will be honored on Aug. 16 with the Peace by Piece Humanitarian Award from Inter-Faith Ministries. Four other award winners will be honored at the 60th Humanitarian Awards Dinner at the Beech Activity Center. Tickets are available by calling Inter-Faith Ministries at 316-264-9303.

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