Monte Russell loved the City of Pasadena. He attended school in Pasadena Unified School District. He grew up as a skinny freckled faced kid that loved being around friends and family. Monte started getting into trouble as a teenager.
Monte was always curious about the gang life as a youth, and after a few prison term he associated himself with a gang. Although he was fearless and always stood up for himself he hated bullies. Monte loved to write. He often wrote poems and kept a journal during certain periods of his life’s journey.
Monte began to make a turn from his gang association and taking his life very serious. He reconnected with family members, and started working a stable full-time job for a local union. Monte completed apprentice classes and several life skills courses during his prison terms. He had positioned himself for change and transformation when he returned to his community. When Monte was released this last time from prison he hit the ground running for his life in a new direction.
For the first time in a long time he celebrated his birthday as a free man last month. He surrendered his life to a higher power at Community Bible Church of Pasadena, where his long time friend Ricky Pickens attends as an Associate Pastor under Pastor Jean Burch. Monte also began taking another trade and attending 2nd Call in Los Angeles to become an electrician. He was scheduled to start this Monday August 24, 2015.
Monte was so excited about the new life he was discovering he often shared his experiences and thoughts on Facebook for everyone to share with him. Also declaring himself as a self-proclaimed model, often taking photos of himself or asking someone else to do so. He was full of life and charisma. His very last post to social media 24 hours before his life was cut short says: “Im sitting here in this 2nd Call class listening with the intent to understand how to not find myself dead or in jail.”
Author Ricky Pickens is a well-respected gang interventionist with the Flintridge Center for many years and is an Associate Pastor at Community Bible Church of Pasadena.