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Since his first incarceration at age 17, John Alite has been known as a mobster. Now, he's attempting to change that perception people have of him and hopefully save a few teens from making the same mistakes he did.
A former enforcer for the Gambino crime family and close confidante to the John Gotti family, John has been in and out of jail (mostly in) for a large portion of his adult life.
He hit a turning point though which has now led him down a path of which he can be proud...and alive.
"When you get in deep enough and are caught in their web, you realize there's no way out."
In his former world, where respect is earned by doing the most heinous crimes, Alite's new world revolves around his family, his private spiritual life, and his mission to deter anyone from a no-win life situation.
"I can't change the past, but I can help other people's futures...and by that I feel good about myself."
"One of my main messages in the talks I give is even if you think it's your nature to get revenge on someone who's bullied, harmed, or threatened to harm you or someone you care about, is that it takes a bigger man to walk away. I can at least say I've never killed a woman."
After witnessing supposedly loyal, tough-guy mafiosa ratting each other out and knowing they'd do the same thing to him in a heartbeat to save their own skin, John eventually said to himself, "Enough."
Finding a good mentor was something that helped John stay the course. He admits to not being overly religious but converted and was baptized into Catholicism during his journey and credits a couple of good priests and others to help him be accountable and stay the course to do good in the world a legacy he much prefers since becoming a grandfather.
"My kids missed out on my being there most of the years they were growing up. I never intended for that to happen."
When Alite isn't speaking to youth, parents, and with the law enforcement who ironically used to track his every move, he likes to spend time working out, playing handball, experiencing cultural events, traveling, relaxing on the beach, playing with his dogs, and of course, spending time with his real family.
"I really enjoy life and don't take it for granted anymore like I used to. I do not make excuses for my past, nor do I blame anyone (especially my parents) for the path I took. A message I try to get across to troubled youth is that their past does not have to define them. Be positive. Stay positive. I murdered, robbed, beat up, sold drugs...you name it...but look at me now."
John Alite - A re-made man