Friday, July 22, 2011

How I do what I do... Training for Ex-offenders

Second Chance/Reentry By Design development was a task I took on in 2009.  2009 was a bad year to start off but ended on a high note.  I was asked to write an article on “how I do what I do”.  To have this make sense I will need to tell you how I got here.  I was unemployed in September 2009, feeling like the world was never going to feel right and becoming obsessed with finding a job.  I was also going through the process of gaining my certification at that time.  I actually had put in for another job with the company I am with now and after that interview, the individual. I interviewed with stated there was a position that would better suit my experience and credentials.  I was provided an interview with the manager over the newly grant funded Second Chance Program.  During the interview the manager discussed wanting someone to design, and create a program for individuals who are on probation, parole or have criminal charges.  I had plans and tickets to visit friends in London so in late October via email I was offered the position and my start date was November 16th.  I had until January 4th to create this program, design the curriculum for the program and build all the lectures for the program.  On December 28th the Employment specialist, whose job it is to work with employers in the community to hopefully hire our participants, started her first day. 

This day was the first orientation for the first class of the Second Chance program.  On January 4th I entered the class and began teaching life skills, critical thinking skills, and reintegration skills to a room of ex-offenders.  I had a lot of people ask me if I was scared to be in a room with ex-offenders with all types of offenses and my response was no.  I have power point presentations, videos, and lectures that cover everything from relapse prevention to anger management and everything in between.  I am not afraid because the first question I ask the participants is “What are your charges”?  They all have to discuss their charges which range from Child Support to Murder.  I then follow that question up with another question.  “Now tell me who you are”?  See looking at what is on that police report tells me that someone made a mistake in their life.  I also know after being a substance abuse counselor for nearly 12 years that most crimes are committed due to being under the influence of a substance, trying to get the substance or selling the substance.  The most recent reports have stated that 80% of crimes are because of Drug intake or activity.  I feel this number is a bit low.  I present my lectures, my trainings for individuals who many in society have turned their backs on.  I share knowledge and wisdom with individuals who have little to no hope or belief that they will ever have the kind of life they would like to have.  I open their eyes by sharing information that they did not realize was available.  By the end of their time in my trainings they have better self worth and are 110% feeling confident.  I train the individuals on how to enhance their passion for employment and this helps them succeed.  Some end up calling me the enhancer of employment passion.

I lecture and train individuals who are ex-offenders to change their thinking, change their lives and become the best employee they can for any employer who would give them a chance.  For if there are people in the world who have never made a mistake, made a bad choice, or turned the wrong way.  They are lying.  In this world think of a time you made a mistake.  Did the other individual give you a second chance?  Did they learn to forgive and move on or did it end?  In life everyone deserves a second chance especially if they have done some internal learning where they saw their mistake and do everything they can to better themselves and not make that mistake again.  Do you deserve a second chance? 

Coming soon the next requested Article:  “Show me the Money”