CJC Major Seeks to Make a Difference in the Lives of Others

CJC Major Seeks to Make a Difference in the Lives of Others

RTP – Driven by a family tragedy and striving to be an inspiration to his children and to the ones he reaches through his job, Arkeem Brooks will receive his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and criminology from the University of Mount Olive on August 27.  He will be the first in his family to earn a four-year degree.


After graduating from high school, Brooks began working full time.  Encouraged by his parents to always better himself, in 2010 he decided to return to school and complete his bachelor’s degree.  Since 2011 he has been employed with Project BUILD in Durham as a Street Outreach Worker/Gang Interventionist.


Project BUILD, a multi-disciplinary gang prevention and intervention program, provides coordinated case management and services to youth and young adults between the ages of 12 and 22 who are at high risk of gang involvement.  In his role with the organization, Brooks works one-on-one with young people to model pro-social behavior, provide behavior coaching, support positive decision-making, encourage education and employment success, and support involvement in pro-social activities.

“My time is spent between the community, courts, and school systems.  I provide resources for young adults who are at risk or involved in gangs,” he stated.


Brooks is passionate about his job because his brother was killed at a young age as a result of gang violence.  Having lived through that experience, Brooks wants to do his part to ensure that others do not have to experience such a devastating tragedy.


“This hits close to home for me,” he said.  “Most people would not want to work with this group of kids, but I love it!  These kids need a positive influence in their lives, and I like being that for them and seeing them grow,” said Brooks.


Brooks will use his degree from UMO to further develop his knowledge and skills to advance his career and to help shape the future for young people.


“I am so thankful for the convenient and flexible classes offered at the University of Mount Olive at RTP,” Brooks said.  “Although it has been tough balancing time between family, work, and my college courses, I now see the light at the end of the tunnel.  It has definitely been worth the effort.”


When walking across the stage in August, Brooks will be saying the Bible verse Philippians 4:13 in his head; “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  He plans to celebrate his achievement with family and friends.


“I would not have been able to earn my degree if it wasn’t for the support of my family.  Having a family that pushes me to do better and understands my busy schedule has been the best support and motivation,” he concluded.


Brooks resides in Durham with his wife Ashley and their children, Caniyah, Caden, and Arkeem Brooks Jr.


The University of Mount Olive is a private institution rooted in the liberal arts tradition with defining Christian values.  The University, sponsored by the Convention of Original Free Will Baptists, has locations in Mount Olive, New Bern, Wilmington, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, Research Triangle Park, Washington, Jacksonville, and in Smithfield at Johnston Community College.  For more information, visit old.umo.edu.