MDRC in the News

Two Decades Later, Success for Man Who Imagined Turning His Life Around

“All Things Considered,” NPR


Robert Siegel, the host of NPR’s “All Things Considered,” is revisiting people that he interviewed for stories years ago. He recently talked with Steven Mallory of Dayton, Ohio, who had been a participant in MDRC’s Parents’ Fair Share demonstration for noncustodial parents in the early 1990s.

In 1995, 22-year-old Steven Mallory imagined a life completely unlike his own — one without gangs, drugs and welfare dependency. He imagined having a solid family and savings.

But in Dayton, Ohio, he had a job literally doing the city’s dirty work: cleaning up after the garbage trucks dumped their load at the county incinerator.

He had been a fast-living teenage drug dealer, making about $500 or $600 a day. Given to fancy cars and expensive suits, he had been known on the streets of West Dayton as Monte Carlos.

But on Dec. 18, 1992, his friend Antoine Gibson died, and he decided enough was enough…..

…..So he quit the drug scene, but when the money stopped coming in, he had no money to support his three children with his ex-girlfriend Afrika Groves. Groves turned to welfare, and the government went looking for Mallory for failing to make child support payments. Mallory ended up in a counselling project, which was part of a national program called Parents’ Fair Share…..

…..Over 20 years later, Mallory, 44, now lives in the Northridge Estates subdivision just north of the Dayton city line. Here, there are single homes with garages and neatly mowed lawns. It’s the very vision of a middle-class suburb…..

…..Back then, Mallory imagined a life unlike anything he had ever experienced. Since his interview back in 1994 and 1995, one question has remained: Is Mallory OK?

As it turns out, he’s much better than that.

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