This story comes from Dismas House, our Transitional Program that is a structured 90-day, progress-oriented curriculum that moves its residents through a series of supportive steps that assist in a successful re-entry into society from prison/jail.
A few days after Johnny opened his first auto mechanic shop, he went to prison for an aggravated DWI. When I first met with Johnny, he told me about his sentencing. The judge had suspended his license until the year 2111. That’s right, for 97 years. Seeing Johnny in my office, it was hard to believe that such a respectful and responsive person was the same man he was talking about. Johnny had been addicted to alcohol for quite some time, and it had ruined both his marriage and his relationship with his son. He had lost his livelihood, family, and home. And yet, Johnny showed up in my office with a fierce determination to succeed. Within a week of arriving, he already had two job interviews, and was hired a few days later. Johnny committed to calling his son, now an adult, regularly and began supporting him financially as he went to college. Johnny spent time with family members he hadn’t seen in over a year, and found that everyone was rooting for him. Johnny even began helping and encouraging a younger resident, giving advice and support. Even with so many barriers to his success, Johnny demonstrates the power of determination. Johnny’s bright, positive attitude is a reminder to me of the potential in our residents, even the particularly difficult ones. Johnny’s example also gives hope to other residents that success is possible, even as it takes time.