Hailing from Prince George’s County, MD, Andre Thomas Jr. at 29 years of age is the founder of Gladiators Of Success, Inc. a multiunit real estate investor, a United States Air Force veteran, the CEO of Gladiator Enterprises, LLC and an Elevator Mechanic for the Architect of the Capitol. He is also a proud son and the oldest sibling of seven.
My entire life I have seen the long lasting and immediate effects of the incarceration system. Those effects have repeatedly hit close to home. My father, Andre Thomas Sr, was incarcerated from when I was 3 weeks old until 9 years of age. From cousins to uncles, I have seen the affects of prison time and the affects of not only the people incarcerated but the lasting trauma that experience has had on my family.
I have found that not only is there a lack of resources to truly succeed as an at-risk member of the community, our prison system is 100% punitive. With little to no emphasis on rehabilitation, this ultimately leads to a revolving door cycle that has to be stopped.
I have always believed that if you have a problem within your community, you should be part of the solution and do everything you can to affect CHANGE. That is where Gladiators Of Success, Inc. comes in. We believe that everyone makes mistakes but with the right resources, an egregious mistake can be avoided entirely (PROACTIVITY). Mistakes can also be answered (REACTIVITY) with programs that initialize an evolution in mind, body, and spirit for returning citizens that would otherwise have to fend for themselves. Finally, by establishing a network (FRATERNITY) of Gladiators we keep everyone uplifted, encouraged, and working together toward success.
Being proactive in community outreach provides the keys to success. We provide various event drives and giveaways to our community. We also provide the skills necessary that are crucial to a returning citizens success. These skills include (but are not limited to):
1. Dress for success
2. Resume building
3. Financial literacy
4. Mental health programs and sponsors
5. Literacy training
6. GED education
7. Vocational Training (culinary arts, landscaping, barbering, audio/video, marketing)
8. Internship/ referral to entry level positions
We establish a network of Gladiators (people that are seeking to help themselves and their community) by connecting them with the proper specialists to attain success. This is the ecosystem that is Gladiators Of Success, Inc.
Between 2017 and 2018, Gladiators of Success donated over 550 turkeys to DC residents. The efforts from the 2017-2018 turkey drives inspired the 2019 Turkey Drive Summit. The summit provided an opportunity to introduce the community to numerous vendors and mental health counselors from the DC area. The panel discussion included DC’s best and brightest leaders to discuss the importance of giving back.
In January of 2020, Gladiators of Success co-hosted “Guns Down Gloves Up!” with That’s A Plug Media. “Guns Down Gloves Up” showcased alternate solutions to gun violence and hardship. This event was highlighted by ABC 7 News and WUSA 9.
More importantly, we have been able to write a letter of recommendation that granted parole for returning citizen Raheem Turner. At the age of 17, Raheem was sentenced to 15 years of incarceration. One year later, he is an employed contractor of Gladiator Enterprises, LLC with a salary of 20/hr.