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“I was a medically retired combat veteran working as a supply and logistics manager when I got into trouble. I knew better, but I broke the law trying to help my sick mother, and I was sentenced to prison. I had no idea how badly a felony conviction would affect my future. The harsh truth is that once you are adjudicated, your life is forever changed. I had experience and abilities, but I no longer had the opportunities.
When I got out of prison in December 2012, I had no money, no work release, and was sleeping under the dining table at my dad’s house. I couldn’t find a job. All that was available was minimum wage, part-time work, and you just can’t live on that. Everyone told me to go to Operation New Hope’s Ready4Work program, so I did. Even with my work experience, I found the program to be really helpful. It taught me how to set short-term goals in order to achieve the long-term goals in a more manageable way. It also opened my eyes to different people’s struggles and barriers to recovering from life choices that go wrong.
After the Ready4Work program, I decided to pursue my education. While working as a warehouse manager, I attended classes, graduated from FSCJ, and then went on to get my degree in Business Administration. I now work as the Warehouse Operations Manager at Priority Tire.
I’ve used Operation New Hope as a hiring resource at all three management jobs I’ve had. I believe in giving everyone a second chance – it’s up to them if they want to make the most out of the opportunity. I know that most people coming out of prison want to do something with their life, but just don’t know how. I pride myself on mentoring my team on finance, credit management, and decision making. I am hoping I can help keep young people from making the same mistakes I did.
The U.S. is supposed to be the land of the free, but we’re not. I really believe that we can fix mass incarceration just by showing people a different way, and that’s exactly what Operation New Hope is doing.”
With the skills learned and confidence gained from our Ready4Release and Ready4Workprograms, our participants go on to become productive community members and build successful careers earning living wages. To read more stories of transformation, success and hope, visit – https://operationnewhope.org/our-stories/voices-of-hope/.