Second Chance Month: Emilio and the Power to Succeed

Second Chance Month: Emilio and the Power to Succeed


The Fortune Society believes in the power of second chances. Every person is capable of change and growth, and through alternatives to incarceration, clients can find that power within themselves.  

Emilio wasn’t looking to change his life when he first came to Fortune in 2018. However, while participating in our Alternatives to Incarceration (ATI) program, he had an awakening. Emilio possessed great leadership skills, which led to his first internship with Fortune’s ATI Leadership Team, eventually taking on a second role as a Recovery Coach Intern.   

“The second internship I did was a little more serious. I took it more seriously,” said Emilio. “I had more of a passion for it and it’s really when I wanted to change my life.”  

One year ago, Emilio started as a Residential Aid (RA) at The Fortune Academy, our emergency and transitional supportive housing facility in West Harlem. Emilio sees his new position as a way to connect and support the other residents and as a way to represent Fortune.  

A big part of why Emilio enjoys being an RA is his passion for supporting others. He cares a lot about his position and makes sure that residents have a comfortable place to stay 

Like himself, Emilio finds pride in seeing others succeed at Fortune.  

“It’s nice when you see someone come into the program and put the work in... the services provided [to] move out and get their life going,” Emilio explained. “[They] did the work but I like to think my words helped [them] out a little bit.”

April is recognized as Second Chance Month, proclaiming to “lift up all those who, having made mistakes, are committed to rejoining society and making meaningful contributions.”  

Emilio sees value in raising awareness for second chances and is grateful to experience his own. With The Fortune Society, Emilio has been able to gain experience to help others. For him, Fortune is all about second chances.  

“All-around I’m a better person today,” said Emilio. “I’m a totally different person, and it’s a blessing that Fortune has done this for me.”  

Every person has dignity and potential. Fortune offers programs and services to assist those like Emilio who are looking for a second chance, and embers of our community help advocate for ending barriers to education, jobs, housing and success.  

At the end of the day, Emilio is happy to call Fortune his home. 

“I love working for Fortune. I feel at home here. I feel comfortable. I like [that] there’s a lot of room to advance here. I like that there are familiar people,” Emilio said. “I don’t ever feel less than.”

Learn more about our Alternatives to Incarceration program and follow us on Twitter to take action in supporting second chances. 

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