Flower Mound family changes everything for juvenile offender

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by DEBBIE DENMON

WFAA

Posted on November 7, 2010 at 11:15 PM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 9 at 12:54 AM

FLOWER MOUND — It looks like a typical family in Flower Mound enjoying a lazy Sunday afternoon with friends watching television.

But Mack White is experiencing normalcy for the first time.

His old "home" was a maximum security prison for juveniles, although prison for him started when his mom deserted him and his father said he would never amount to anything.

"I've really been on my own; in the streets since I was like 13," White, now 21, said. "The older I got, the less hope I found... and the more lost I was."

Mack White was sent to the juvenile prison at Gainesville when he was 16 years old for aggravated robbery. But after serving three years of his sentence, he became Carmen Studer's third child — not by adoption, but by fate.

It all started with a football game, when Grapevine Faith private school students went to play the Gainesville inmates and became the first school to show the troubled kids love.

Half of the Grapevine Faith cheerleaders rooted for the prisoners and gave them fan support in the stands. It was the coach's mantra: Have one heart for all people despite their circumstances.

"That game gave me more hope, because I already had my mind made up that I wanted to change, and I didn't want to continue living this life," White said.

From that game of hope, the One Heart project was born; the goal to mentor inmates and help them develop the tools needed to re-enter society as productive citizens.

Carmen Studor was convinced; she opened up her home to a convicted felon.

"We all locked our doors the first night," she recalled. "We put our daughter in our bedroom and my son locked his door and Mack even locked his door."

Mack would soon gain her family's trust, living with them for one year while gaining another game plan for life.

"What I used my tools for was my survival in the streets," he said. "But once I was in a different area, she said, 'I'm giving you some new tools.'"

"He had a strong desire and big dreams, and said, 'I will do anything you tell me to do... I just want a chance,'" Studor said.

Mack got his first chance to know what it was like for a family to believe in him. He took modeling and acting classes when his new mom recommended it. Mack got enough work to get his own apartment. He's now been living away from home for one year.

"There's nothing more powerful than giving someone love and hope," Studor said. "I think when someone's given that, they can't help but to pay it forward."

 

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