Friday, June 26, 2009

A Very Special Day and a Second Chance

Today the San Diego Asian Film Foundation exhibited one of its core values: Leadership.

On this special day 35 truly special individuals proved that people do deserve a second chance. The Second Chance STRIVE (Support Training Results in Valuable Employees) class #132 graduated into a new life, a life without drugs, crime, bad attitudes toward work, and deviant behavior. This new life is created by a program that has been in existence for 15 years; Second Chance combines tough love and life skills with real-world professional job skill instruction and job search techniques.

The tough love and life skills mentally prepare the individual and the job skill instruction, which comprises of resume writing, interview preparation, and job retention prepare the graduates for life after the jail cell (this is specific to the PREP program which stands for Prisoner Re-entry Employment Program).

Today myself, Daniel Matthews, Nick Cichon, Pamela Huynh, and Board Member Stephen Chin attended this graduation and spoke with the graduates after to find out how they felt during their transformations and to give them words of encouragement for their new lives. I spoke with the graduates about what they would be thinking about Monday morning when they wake up to start a new life, they unaminously said that they are ready, proud of what they have done in the program, and can't wait to contribute to the workforce. Without question, I was impressed with the positive energy and attitude that was eminating from these very special people. I am glad that I was a part of seeing people get a second chance in life, because I know that all of us have gotten one at a time in our lives.

Founded by Executive Director Scott H. Silverman (who is also a CNN Hero), Second Chance has found a way to work magic that the current social system for recently released felons simply does not do. The magic is that these people transform, become positive thinking professionals and they have access to the services of Second Chance for a minimum of two years. This continued monitoring of the graduates after the intense three-week transformational program gives these second chances life after the classroom.

Thank you to Scott, Veronica, Rob, and the rest of the amazing staff at Second Chance, I personally want to thank you for what you do!

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