Meet The Doe Fund: Pt. 2
A series on the guys who keep the neighborhood beautiful
January 11, 2018
Meet Mr. Wiggins, a supervisor for The Doe Fund in Downtown Brooklyn. This profile is the second in our series on The Doe Fund. To find out more about the organization, check out Pt. 1 here.
Mr. Wiggins started his journey right here in New York City, where he lived with parents, who both struggled with drug and alcohol problems, until his grandmother stepped in to take custody of him. While his grandmother was a kind woman who instilled good morals and principles, living with her meant living in Florida, and that was not where Mr. Wiggins wanted to be.
Recounting his life story, Mr. Wiggins says this is when his life took a turn: “There’s always two types of people in the streets: those that have to be in the streets and those that choose to be there. I was unfortunately one of the ones that chose the streets.” The pressures to fit in with his new friends in Florida led him to criminal behavior, and it wasn’t long before he was thrown into the revolving door of juvenile detention centers, jails, and finally prison, until he was sentenced to life in 1999. In the 15 years it took Mr. Wiggins to have that sentence overturned, he underwent deep self-reflection to try to figure out who he was and what he wanted to do. When the time came to leave, he knew he never wanted to go back, and that’s what led him to The Doe Fund.
Mr. Wiggins praises The Doe Fund for everything it has helped him accomplish. For much of his life, he maintained a pattern of starting things but never being able to finish them. His biggest take away from working with The Doe Fund is his ability to break that pattern, and complete the program. But when asked what motivates him to continue working with The Doe Fund after he completed the program, he had a different response. “[It’s] being able to supervise from a position knowing that you once were like those guys that are coming out… some of these guys come out and they don’t have no sense of direction on what’s coming next, and I had that feeling.” Mr. Wiggins, like all supervisors in the program, uses his success to help others that were once in their *work boots*.
Working on the streets of our neighborhood, Mr. Wiggins has a lot to say about Downtown Brooklyn. He is first and foremost proud of the standard of professionalism and hard work the trainees are required to meet, for it only helps them in the future. It is the motivating culture that makes the trainees so successful in landing jobs after the program, just like one of Mr. Wiggins’ trainees who now works for a local restaurant, and still pops outside to thank Mr. Wiggins whenever he is working in Willoughby Plaza. As Mr. Wiggins says, “we don’t give a hand out, we give a hand up. That is the greatest thing that I think anybody can possibly give. With that thing, we are who we are….Downtown Brooklyn.”
Thank you for all you do for Downtown Brooklyn, Mr. Wiggins!
The series continues with Part 3 here.