Remi Adeleke’s life changed abruptly when his father died—when his family went from being royalty in Nigeria to struggling to feed themselves in the Bronx.
The public education system was so poorly resourced and Remi was exposed to precious few role models in his early life. As a result, he didn’t feel that there was an expectation for him to even graduate high school; it seemed the only path available was stealing, selling drugs, and running scams.
But when Remi hit rock bottom at 26 and realized, he needed something bigger than himself. That’s when Remi met Tiana Reyes, a military recruiter who helped him find his true path. Tiana was also from the Bronx, so she was passionate about helping to give young people from the neighborhood an opportunity to establish a career and explore the world—because she knew that not many other people would give them the chance.
Tiana attended multiple court hearings to advocate for him and helped him fill out the paperwork to get Remi into the Navy. Once in Navy boot camp, Remi was exposed to all the different programs and set his heart on becoming a Navy SEAL.
But it wasn’t a slam dunk. He didn’t pass the academic test on his first attempt and, even if he had, he wouldn’t have passed the physical test because he didn’t know how to swim. But Remi’s mother always taught him to persevere, and he drew on that to train and study in the time outside of his role as a medic. The hard work paid off and Remi was accepted into Navy SEAL training.
In addition to fulfilling his dream of becoming a Navy SEAL, Remi is an actor, entrepreneur, writer, husband, and father. He has written a memoir about his life called Transformed and volunteers as a mentor for kids in similar situations that he was in.
He believes that the past does not have to be a template for our future, that there is always hope and that you can help a person so much that you’re actually hurting them because you’re enabling them to keep doing what they’re doing.
As for all the hardships, setbacks and failures in his life, Remi says they made him who he is today because “you can’t grow without failure.”
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- Instagram: @remiadeleke
- Twitter: @RemiAdeleke
- Facebook: @RemiAdeleke
- LinkedIn: @RemiAdeleke
- Read: Transformed
- Get your copy of Master the Key: A Story to Free Your Potential, Find Meaning and Live Life on Purpose
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