Voices of Hope – Benjamin Bland

“I spent 17 and 1/2 years in prison away from my home and daughter. When I was preparing for release, I saw a brochure explaining the Ready4Work reentry program. I had initially been planning to go back to my hometown of Bainbridge, Georgia, but thought I would take a chance and write to Operation New Hope to learn more about the program. A few weeks later, the Ready4Release team visited me at the prison and told me that if I came to Jacksonville, they would take care of the rest. And it was all true.”

“The team held me up through the last few weeks I was behind bars. On my first day out, they set me up with transitional housing where I was quickly hired as a handyman. Determined, I attended Ready4Work classes every day from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., and then I painted houses every evening from 3:30-10:00. Because I was fortunate enough to have work while going through the program, I was able to give my weekly stipends to others who had greater financial needs. During my 5 weeks in the program, I was so lucky to meet Nelson Mandela’s daughter and granddaughter along with Vice President Pence and Ivanka Trump, who all visited this amazing organization – proof that how Operation New Hope is helping the community is really significant!”

“After graduating Ready4Work, I completed all the steps necessary to operate my own business, and Glory Homes Historic Restoration has been employing me as a subcontractor ever since. I have been performing restoration all over the Springfield neighborhood, and I’m currently renovating the oldest row-houses in the country. I’ve been saving my money, paying off old debts, and was eventually able to buy a motorcycle. I’ve stayed busy with work during the pandemic and life is really good. I am now focusing my attention on how I can give back and help.”

“I am proud of so many things, but what I’m most proud of is my daughter. At 19, she was recently sworn in as a police officer in Pellum, Georgia – the youngest female officer in the country. She is so smart and hard working. I am so happy to have her back in my life.”

Comments 2

  1. I’m so excited to see this testimonial. He was a participant in my Customer service training class during that week of their visit. Great time in history to be included in that event. Congratulations Benjamin.

  2. It is so encouraging to hear about those who have turned their lives around. My daughter has been in and out of jail and prison for many years struggling with addiction. She is planning on entering the Ready 4 work program when she is released in November. God bless you and your daughter.

    Sheila N.

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