Second Chance: Empower Change

November 15, 2015

‘Sometimes life gives you a second chance, or even two. Not always, but sometimes. It’s what you do with those second chances that counts.’ –Dave Wilson

As humans we are bound to make mistakes; it is in our nature. It is from our mistakes and experiences that we learn about life, our own selves, the people around us, and good from bad. The beauty in making mistakes is the second chances we receive to learn from our faults and better ourselves for our future.

Often times, the mistakes an individual makes can leave them in unforeseen circumstances such as homelessness or in prison. In San Diego County alone, there are 8,742 homeless individuals on any given night and 5,000 imprisoned men and women. In situations such as these, foreseeing a positive future or outcome can be grim.

More often then not, when people learn that an individual is homeless or was previously incarcerated, their opinions and mindset change. Naturally we become reluctant to give them a second chance, to give them the benefit of the doubt or to trust that they are worthy for the job. People assume that these men and women were in their previous situations because they made poor choices. For some, that is the case and for others, it is not.

Many individuals fall into homelessness because of exorbitant medical bills, job loss, fleeing domestic violence, seniors with no family, veterans who can’t find jobs after serving in the military, or teenagers turned away from their own home.

Many formerly incarcerated individuals hold a record from a minor indictment years or decades prior but find it nearly impossible to find a job that pays well enough to provide for their family or even themselves.

That is where organizations such as Second Chance play a vital role in creating opportunities for these individuals to transform their lives for the better. Through the programs at Second Chance, they provide job-readiness and life-skills training, job placement, behavioral health and prisoner re-entry services, relapse prevention and sober-living housing for adults and youth in need.

Second Chance’s nationally known work readiness program develops appropriate workplace behavior, effective interviewing, job search techniques, and a positive outlook toward working and employment. One of the hardest steps these men and women face is having the positive mindset that despite their past, they can succeed and have the life they want and deserve.

Since 2003, Second Chance has placed over 4,000 graduates from their job-readiness program into employment. These graduates have been placed with 1,754 local employers with an average starting wage of $10.05. With their two-year work program, each participant engages in 160 hours of intensive instruction during which they break personal barriers to self-sufficiency, obtain new job skills, develop resumes and career plans, and practice interviewing techniques.

From their two-year job-readiness program, Second Chance transforms an individual by rebuilding their personal confidence and aiding them in finding their place back within society. Second Chance provides these hopeless individuals with not only hope but with the necessary skills to make their second chance in life count.