Like many things in life, successful reentry after justice involvement is not always a linear process. Many skill sets, support systems, and resources are often needed to find solid footing back in the community.
For any person’s reentry journey, however, preparation is vital.
“I wasn’t scared or anything like that about coming back into the community because I felt I was ready,” notes Fortune participant Travis. After serving 10 years in prison, and beginning his sentence at a young age, Travis knew that he couldn’t return back to life as he knew it. On his day of release, he had to make drastic changes—admittedly, this first step isn’t easy.
“Some people find themselves going to what they only know. It’s survival methods, and that’s very unfortunate,” says Travis, “…some people are not used to change in process.” Many times, an acclimation to change requires help. That’s where compassionate communities like The Fortune Society steps in. With over half of its staff having histories of justice involvement, their community is deeply in tuned to what an individual coming home from prison or jail needs to thrive. As Travis says:
Prior to coming to Fortune, Travis’ determination led him to temporary employment through another nonprofit organization. Once his employment ended there, he was eager to find other work. When he discovered The Fortune Society, his main intention was to do just that. Soon, Travis realized that he found so much more.
While in Fortune’s Employment Services program, a Career Advisor told him about an available internship with a large company. Travis was skeptical at first (“I was just more focused on getting a job,” he notes), but quickly learned that this internship was a pathway to more than he imagined. While there, he found a team that inspired him to move forward from his past in new ways.
Through job development trainings at both Fortune and the company he interned for—including how to format resumes, thank-you letters, and emails—Travis certainly learned how to make it work. “There’s a lot of great trainings that was offered from both ends that allowed me to be where I’m at right now,” he says. And where is he? Travis’ hard work transformed his internship into a full-time career at the same company. Today, as a customer support representative, he applies technical skills to ensure that clients receive information they need. It’s a fulfilling position, and he is thankful that The Fortune Society showed him that he was capable of more than he imagined.
Article by Root Stitches LLC