Lehigh County man recognized with honor that will allow him to travel the globe
ALLENTOWN, Pa. - Promise Neighborhoods is an Allentown-based organization that provides violence prevention and healthy equity programs to local children and families. The Executive Director of the program, Dr. Hasshan Batts, will soon be making an even larger impact as he prepares to travel around the globe to share his experiences and expertise.
Batts has a PhD in Global Health, and he says his broad life experiences, including his incarceration, led him to most recently becoming a Fulbright Specialist.
The Fulbright scholarship will allow Batts to travel to several countries to help international organizations help others, just like he has done with Promise Neighborhoods across the Lehigh Valley.
"I will work with organizations that are working around violence prevention with youth. Violence prevention with women, really supporting them, offering them consultation, training, working with them around developing their material and training practices," said Batts.
- DA: 4 Pennsylvania men charged in 'reported hate crime' on campus of Lehigh University
- Video: Tow truck driver walks to find help after he was shot in Southwest Philadelphia
- DA: Father charged for 'accidentally' shooting 5-year-old son on porch in Olney
Batts says he spent years in and out of prison, which taught him the importance of perseverance.
"I was arrested for the first time at 11 years old and had many arrests after that," said Batts. "The last time I was incarcerated, it was for drugs, and I was sentenced to ten years and served five. Prison is a dangerous, lonely, and depressing place, but it can also be a wake-up call if you maximize the opportunity."
After overcoming so much, Batts now has the chance to take the world stage, an opportunity he says would not have been possible without his mom's love and support.
"One of my proudest accomplishments is that my mother died proud of me," he said.
Batts says he expects to begin his two to six week Fulbright assignment in the upcoming fall. In the meantime, he says he is working on his pride and allowing himself to be proud of his accomplishments.
"I've forgiven myself, so the pride is coming next," Batts said. "I just realized I have so much more work to do, so the Fulbright scholarship is a stepping stone in the right direction."