Voices of Hope Update – Aaron H.

Founded in March 1999, Operation New Hope is celebrating our 25th anniversary this year, commemorating our legacy of transformative impact on the people and communities we serve. To mark this momentous occasion, we reached out to some of our former clients to see how they are doing now. Years after returning home, they are still applying what they have learned during their time here at Operation New Hope to achieve success and build a brighter future. 

Here is Aaron’s Voices of Hope Update:

What are you up to now? Where are you working and how are you doing?
I am a full time dad of Mason who is 15 and Layla who is 13. I received full custody 1-4-2024 through an emergency custody hearing after not seeing my kids since August 2011. Mason reached out to me on social media, and a week after that, both my kids were living with me.

I graduated from the Electrical apprenticeship program after 5 years in May of 2024. I now make 33.42 a hour with amazing benefits. I’m so Blessed. I’m going on 8 years with Miller electric and proud to be part of the IBEW Local 177 Union!!”

How did incarceration and reentry change you?
“It changed me a lot – about knowing what my boundaries are because everyone’s are different. I choose wisely who I’m around. Definitely picking people who want to succeed in life and be a honest person.”

What have been the happiest moments since being released?
Definitely being reunited and getting full custody of my kids. And now my 6 year old who I have 50/50 with no majority parent has 2 older brother and sister. We all live under one roof. And graduated with no absentee all 5 years in the apprenticeship program.

What have you learned about yourself in the time since going through the Ready4Work program?
I learned that I am valued and loved and can offer my testimony to others. I’m not perfect and have a lot of work. I just want to grow as a human being and dad and friend.”

What are your dreams and aspirations?
To watch all 3 kids graduate and succeed in life. And get married to my Beautiful Gift from God Laurena. My James 1:17.”

What keeps you motivated?
“My kids family and others watching me.”

What achievements are you most proud of?
Being a full time dad. Graduating from the electrical apprenticeship with zero absences. And being able to vote. Having my rights restored.”

What do you wish others knew about the criminal justice system?
That you can change for the better or worst. It really depends on you and what you want in life. Also, that people make mistakes and that God takes a Mess into a Message.”

If you could change one thing about the criminal justice system, what would it be?
To have my resources and have more people who care about inmates. Because one day a lot of people are going to get out into society and not everyone will go back.”

What does HOPE mean to you?
Hope is a sense of freedom and strength. Hope is believing in an amazing future. Never quit doing your part and God will always do His part.”

How do you hope your story can inspire or support others?
I’m an ordinary person who started at the bottom and each year it got better. If I can do it, anyone can. I promise – put in the hard work and never ever go around to the same people. Real friends build you up and hold you accountable and lead you to success!”

Is there anything else you would like to share?
Keep fighting and put your faith in Jesus Christ. I attend Church of Eleven 22. They having amazing support groups. Keep climbing the mountain – you will get knocked down but get back up. Please know your boundaries like where you can go who you can be around. I have been clean and sober since August 2011. Remember when it rains, it pours but never give up. Remember integrity is doing the right thing when no one is looking!”

Aaron with his 3 children
Aaron with his wife and daughter

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!

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