Connecting to Humanity: How Lymus Gives Back to His Community

Connecting to Humanity: How Lymus Gives Back to His Community

11/27/2019

In the midst of his 23-year-long prison sentence, Lymus Rivera decided to plan ahead. Anticipating the challenges he’d face upon release, he reached out to several reentry organizations while still behind bars. Almost none of the agencies responded, except for one: The Fortune Society.

When Lymus was applying for parole, Fortune wrote letters to the parole board every time he met with them, advocating for his release and assuring them that help would be offered to Lymus at Fortune.

Once he was granted parole, Fortune assisted Lymus during reentry, giving him the opportunity to participate in Employment Services and granting him a safe space to flourish and grow, all of which he holds immense gratitude for.

“After being incarcerated [for so many years], there's…a lot of trauma,” he says. “But to just be able to get over that, you have to be in a safe environment, where you can…become vulnerable and reconcile your past with your present.”

This safe and loving environment inspired Lymus to give back to the Fortune community. He became a group facilitator in 2017. Today, he works as a substance use counselor, empowering individuals to cope with the stress and trauma of addiction and to establish goals for sustained sobriety.

“This is my way of giving back and connecting to humanity,” he says. “I was a violent person that took all I could when I had a chance, but for the first time in my life I am giving back.”

Additionally, Lymus gives back to his wife and four children by spending time with them and being involved in their lives. Since he was not present when his eldest daughter and son lives growing up, he is further motivated to be a good father and role model.

“I told myself that I was blessed with the opportunity to have children…” says Lymus, about his youngest daughter and son. “I will support them, nourish them, and I will give them what I never had—a father…”

Today, Lymus is working toward earning his Bachelor’s degree and helping his wife start her own bakery. Although it was Lymus who took the initiative to build a meaningful life for himself, he is thankful for the role that Fortune played in making this a reality.

In the spirit of giving back, Lymus hopes that people will continue supporting Fortune, just like he has.

“[Working at Fortune] is more than just a job. This is a reciprocal experience…This is an emotional experience,” he says. “[People] should support [Fortune] because everyone who is in here…appreciates freedom, appreciates life, appreciates society.”

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