Imagine spending almost 3 decades in prison with no work experience to help you get the life you want. Picture someone’s expression as they read your employment application and see the box checked “yes” for convictions.
This is what Patrick faced when he was released from prison. “I took the crooked road. It didn’t pan out. Look where I ended up.” No experience. No references. No hope?
Not at all.
That’s when Chrysalis, a social enterprise in REDF’s portfolio, came on the scene. Once Patrick completed orientation with Chrysalis, he began working with their street cleaning crew. Through hard work and dedication, Patrick advanced to a desk clerk position. Eventually, he supervised 8 workers. Thanks in part to the support and training he received at Chrysalis, Patrick now manages the Hart Hotel, which offers housing to low-income individuals. He sometimes marvels at how far he’s come. “To be sitting in my own office right now,” he reflects, “That’s a lot. That’s a huge, huge accomplishment for me.” Patrick is looking forward to continuing to grow and help others. “I want to help somebody. I want to make sure that no one ends up the way I did.”
Many people tell Patrick they’re proud of him, and that makes him all the more proud. For him, it’s not a question of how much money he makes. Instead, he cites the value of hard work paying off, and how proud he is to be a taxpayer. “I’d rather get up and earn my money than cut a corner any day, because the only thing waiting for you in that fast life is incarceration.”
Reunited with his family, Patrick is able to support them in ways he didn’t think were possible, including sending his daughter to college. “My family loves me. They appreciate me. They don’t look at me as that bad guy anymore. Now when they see me coming, hands are extended.”