Serving in a Life Sentence
By: Kingsley East
Nashville, TN, September 12:
Ndume Olatushani grew up with a firm foundation in the midst of a tough environment. His mother showed him how to value people and serve others. Through her, Ndume understood that he is responsible to help others, for there is always someone worse off than you think.
Growing up in the projects wasn’t easy for Ndume and his family though. With low expectations and a society that failed to encourage him, Ndume fell into a series of bad choices as a kid. This put him in a vulnerable situation when it came to false accusations about a robbery-murder that took place in Tennessee. Having never stepped foot in Tennessee, Ndume wasn’t worried about this trial until the unthinkable happened. In 1985, Ndume was sentenced to death for murder.
Ndume then spent twenty-eight years behind bars. During this time, Ndume’s foundation for serving others stuck with him. He never lost hope in jail, but rather used his simple gifts like reading and writing to help his fellow inmates. He also studied law to become a paralegal in jail, in hopes of learning how to free himself. Through his dedication and the work of others, including his future wife, Ndume’s case went back to court. In 2012, Ndume walked out of prison as a free man.
Now, Ndume fights to bring this hope to imprisoned people and kids that are subject to follow the “cradle to prison pipeline.” His life is proof that anything can happen, and he shares this hope with numerous volunteer organizations. Among them includes the Oasis Center, the Marth O’Bryan Center, Project Return, and local high schools. Ndume strives to bring hope to incarcerated people on Death Row and to inspire youths to reach their fullest potential.
Nashville’s Volunteer of the Month is a program of Doing Good, a 501c3, non-profit organization which educates and inspires more people to volunteer by celebrating the real stories of real people who volunteer in the community. For additional information about David, Doing Good or other volunteers, visit the website www.DoingGood.tv or @DoingGoodTV on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, or YouTube.