“I had no idea how much the criminal justice system would impact my life. After serving 2 years in prison, the only job I could get was washing dishes. I was trying to provide for my wife and kids but having a hard time making ends meet. It was a really low point in my life, and I was trapped in a cycle of payday loans and piling up debt. I didn’t see a way out, so I applied to the Ready4Work program at Operation New Hope. I wasn’t accepted at first because of my previous violent charge, but the team took the time to evaluate my potential during a weekly staffing session and led the charge to give me a second chance. I’m so glad they did.
“Operation New Hope was great! It was very refreshing to see that I’m not the only one going through the struggles of reentry. I was surrounded by amazing people and made a lot of new friends. I enrolled in college while going through Ready4Work, and my job coach got me a job working night shifts cleaning exhaust fans. I slowly progressed and eventually earned my AA degree. But I hit a ceiling, because as a felon, there are only so many jobs that will hire you.
“Luckily, that’s when I was offered an opportunity at Operation New Hope to work as a recruiter under a Fresh Start grant with CareerSource. I worked here for a year helping 16-24 year-olds and gave a lot of hope to a lot of people. It made me feel like I wasn’t a felon anymore, and I finally got over a hump.
“I earned my bachelor’s degree in 2019, inherited 60 acres of land, and started building Nazareth Farm. My goal is to build a place where men can go when they get out of prison and learn how to farm. I’ve also been volunteering with Prison Fellowship at prisons and several youth facilities.
“On April 2, I celebrated 9 years of being out of prison, and then on April 21, I got approved to start my new job at the Department of Juvenile Justice. What a great way to celebrate Second Chance Month!”
At Operation New Hope, we believe that we are all better than our worst mistake, worst day, or worst decision. We believe in people’s ability to transform their lives through commitment and hard work. We see it every day as we support our clients’ reentry and growth. With the skills learned and confidence gained from our Ready4Release, Ready4Work and Ready4Success programs, our participants go on to become productive community members and build successful careers earning living wages. Read more stories of transformation, success and hope!
We provide support, life and job skills training for people affected by the criminal justice system and place them in employment that offers a sustainable quality of life.
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