Anthony Sanders knew about The Fortune Society for over 15 years, but it took a few stops and starts to fully get involved. “I’d pop up over in Long Island City here and there, but I never really sought out the services that were available,” he explains. We didn’t give up on him, though. “I was going back and forth to jail. And every time, [Fortune staff] would always come and pick me up,” Anthony explains. When he finally made a firm commitment to rebuild his life, we were there for him.
Still, gratitude doesn’t cloud Anthony’s sense of personal responsibility. “Even though the services are there for people, the individual has to do the work,” he notes, “[Fortune gives] you the tools—you have to put the work in.” Since committing fully to our programs, Anthony has taken full advantage of what we offer, and transformed his life in a variety of ways.
First, our staff encouraged Anthony to pursue treatment for substance use. Once he found sobriety, they motivated him to enroll in other programs available for individuals with justice involvement. Next, when facing housing insecurity, Anthony received a room at The Fortune Academy (“the Castle”), our transitional housing development in West Harlem. For the past two years, this safe and supportive environment has given him a strong foundation for success.
While Anthony was involved in other housing programs in the past, The Castle is the only place he found that caters to people with his unique life experiences and needs.
Today, Anthony is thriving. He recently earned his barber’s license, which offers new career opportunities. While at work cutting hair, he shares his story with customers, letting them know the pitfalls of incarceration and substance use. By sharing his life experience, Anthony does his part to prevent others from going down the same road.
Anthony looks forward to a future full of possibilities. He’s even considering moving out of state to be closer to family and enjoy a slower pace of life.
Thanks to Fortune, this change—and much more— is possible.
*Article by Carmen Rojas