Reentry Program Success: David Gambichler’s Story

Reentry Program Success: David Gambichler’s Story


Individuals with justice involvement face a variety of challenges, and for those without a high school education, life can be even more difficult. Studies show that formerly incarcerated individuals that did not graduate high school are 10 percent more likely to be arrested again. But for many, returning to school—particularly while dealing with other aspects of community reentry—can be daunting.

Staff at The Fortune Society’s Education program understand the obstacles their students face, and the courses offered are designed to help students at all levels achieve their scholastic goals. Whether students are working on basic literacy, getting High School Equivalency instruction, or learning technology skills, they are surrounded by a devoted staff that prioritizes individualized teaching methods and a personal focus.

As teacher Michael Logan explains:

“It’s not a one-shoe-fits-all approach. You have to meet people where they are and then educate and build them from there, not put expectations on them and then scrutinize them when they don’t live up to those expectations.”


For students like David Gambichler, this welcoming, supportive atmosphere was transformational.

“I needed to get my [High School equivalency diploma],” he explains. “[My mother] has been encouraging me since I dropped out of high school.”  After learning about Fortune at a court-mandated substance use program, he quickly took advantage of the opportunity to further his education and increase his employment opportunities.

Although previous attempts to obtain his education hadn’t been successful, Fortune was different. With the support of his teachers, David finally found the resources and support to achieve his goal. “Once I got connected, everything fell into place,” he says. After months of study and hard work, David passed the High School Equivalency test and obtained his diploma—a proud moment for him and his family.

David Gambicher, a reentry program success story, holding up his High School equivalency certificate

With a high school education, David now has access to a variety of career options and training programs, including those within Fortune’s Employment Services program. He has completed a 10-week internship, and plans to return to Fortune to learn Green Construction and obtain an OSHA certification.

Every day, Fortune’s teachers provide the caring support and unique academic atmosphere that allows students like David to achieve goals they never thought were possible.

“If it wasn’t for Fortune,” he says, “I would not have my [High School Equivalency diploma].”

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*Article by Carmen Rojas

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