Michael R. DeLeon, a successfully acclimated ex-offender who after nearly 8 years of drug addiction and gang involvement, spent 12 years in state prison and half-way houses for a gang-related homicide. He was addicted to drugs and actually died three times, being brought back through hospital injections of naloxone. After spending almost 8 years addicted to cocaine, heroin and other illicit drugs, Michael found abstinence in prison. Since Michael’s release from prison, he has earned 3 Associates Degrees, a Baccalaureate Degree in Business Management, with a minor in Criminal Justice and a CADC Certificate. Michael is now in the process of obtaining his Master’s Degree in Social Work at Rutgers University School of Social Work as well as obtaining his LCADC.
Michael is the founder of Steered Straight, Inc. A non-profit organization formed in 2000 designed with the intention of carrying a message to youth and young adults regarding the extreme dangers of drugs, gang-involvement and criminal activity. Michael spends his time developing Steered Straight by stressing the importance of young men and women making sound, rational decisions in their day to day lives. Michael also founded the Project Pride Program while incarcerated in prison. After pitching the idea for this program to then Commissioner Jack Terhune, he worked to develop the message that consequences are severe and life-lasting. Project Pride is still in existence at the New Jersey Department of Corrections.
Michael has spoken to over two million students and young adults as a motivational speaker in many facilities delivering evidence-based student programs around the state of New Jersey, and in Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware, Washington, DC, North and South Carolina, Texas, Maryland, Georgia and Florida.