Hanaa Elfiky, a career advisor at The Fortune Society, knows firsthand the difficulty her participants face when seeking employment. Three years ago, she was in their shoes.
Hanaa became involved with the criminal justice system in her early forties. While she previously had a successful career in social work, her conviction history affected possibilities in the field after her release.
“Automatically, you become a criminal. Automatically, you become no good,” she says. “And that’s not right—we need second chances. We have made decisions, wrong decisions. But now we are ready to make the right ones. And if individuals don’t give us the chance, then what?”
At Fortune, she was given that opportunity.
“I did the two-week [Soft Skills Job Readiness Training program], and it was in [that program where] they gave me the hope,” Hanaa explains. “They’re the ones who said, ‘You’re not your felony. You can do more.'”
The Employment Services team offered her the encouragement and confidence to look beyond her justice involvement. Now, by assisting other individuals who were formerly incarcerated in finding promising careers, Hanaa is doing the same for others.
Over 7,000 people walk through Fortune’s doors yearly, seeking support, community, and a fresh start. In a society that stigmatizes individuals for their past mistakes, we have given people the chance to make right decisions, empowering them to rebuild their lives and thrive.
For the past 50 years, Fortune’s supporters have been an essential part of this work. Your gift allows for the continuation and growth of our vital services and programs, as well as the resources to advocate for a fairer system that removes barriers for those with justice involvement. Help us continue to provide these opportunities for years to come.
*Article by Carmen Rojas