Impact Stories

Impact Stories (names are changed) was something small that he did not have..

Dennis had planned well and had nearly everything figured out within the first week of being released. He had shelter, food, and was starting a job but was in need of one thing - a second pair of socks. He had been planning to wash his single pair of socks daily until receiving his first paycheck and could afford another pair. I learned this through a conversation we were having while driving him around town on his first day out. He cried when I, a stranger, a mentor with the Free2Succeed, surprised him later that evening with a pack of socks. It wasn't a hand out, it was something small that he did not have that had a tremendous impact in his success.

...he got the boots, which was the hand up that he needed...

Eric obtained a job immediately upon release after having served 15 years in prison. He would be working construction but was not allowed on the job site without a pair of steel-toed boots but his first paycheck was two weeks away. Through the generosity of community resources and mentor support pointing him in the right direction, he got the boots, which was the hand up that he needed. He has now been on the job for two years and is a full-time student in the evenings working towards his goal of becoming an electrician.

... wanted the opportunity to help others where I myself once was...

3) I became a mentor because I wanted the opportunity to help others where I myself once was. I have the ability to reach others like many cannot, and if I was successful without a mentor, just think how much the success rate goes up with a mentor. I was unaware of the Free2Succeed program when I was released years ago but, now that I know about it, I am a firm believer in the program. I currently have a mentee who, in the beginning, was scared and quite frankly just overwhelmed with the things that he had to do right after being released. I could immediately sense his stress so I just jumped right with him and we took care of everything that he needed to do. About two weeks later, we were having coffee and filling out some of his job applications. Both of our sons were playing in the kids area of where we were at and he looked and said, "Shawn - thank you for everything you've done. I prayed to God to help me, and He sent you." Tears welled up in my eyes and I felt a profound sense of love and gratitude. From that moment, I knew without a doubt that the Free2Succeed program does make a difference, one mentee at a time. Each one will need different things but one thing will always remain the same - my desire and passion to help every mentee that I can. I am immensely proud and honored to be part of this program.

...judge seemed pleased that Bill has a mentor...

As reported to his judge, Bill has continued to look for work. He has had a few interviews but so far no luck. I drove Bill from his place to the county courthouse for his first review meeting with his district judge. His interview with the judge started slightly late, causing a little stress, so I was glad I was there. Otherwise the review went very well, and the judge seemed pleased that Bill has a mentor.

Mentoring WORKS!!!!! This program will work!!!

"I hope this email finds you well and having a great day. I have to tell you about this because I am so excited!!!! I am a mentor to a girl on [district 7 supervision] caseload named Jane (not her real name). Jane was released from prison 22 days ago. I have met with her a few times and we have developed a good mentor relationship. Well, yesterday Jane relapsed. She drank alcohol at her job and got very intoxicated. She called both [her PO] and I asking for help and telling us what she had done. I am so very proud she felt comfortable enough to reach out to me during her crisis. I went over to Jane's house and picked her up and took her to the Behavioral Crisis Center in town which helps those in crisis. Jane was able to stay the night there and sober up in a safe and healthy environment. I picked her up this morning and took her to [her PO's] office where we all met and put together a plan. Jane also got sanctioned. She is not allowed to work around alcohol anymore and had to quit her job. She was also sanctioned in other areas. I picked Jane up this afternoon and took her to her place of employment to not only apologize to the owner of the restaurant but [so she could] also pay him for the wine and whiskey she stole. It was so AWESOME! I went in with her and instead of him having [her] arrested for theft he congratulated her for being honest. Mentoring WORKS!!!!! This program will work!!! I am so very excited!!! I took Jane immediately after her meeting with the owner to get an application at a local coffee shop...I know the owner there and to also get a thank you card. She felt so much better about herself and this situation gave her hope! There are many positive things that the mentoring relationship with Jane helped with. It helped [her PO] not only so she could not have to go out after work again but also helped Jane immensely. It also strengthened the IDOC relationship with a very high end business in town and showed them that IDOC takes good care of their offenders. He was VERY impressed!!!! He had no idea IDOC was so awesome. It also showed to this business owner that not all felons are terrible people. He said this situation definitely helped him a lot. This was just so COOL!!!!! I wish you could have seen it! :) Awesome day today!! This is a prime example why the mentoring program is so awesome and is going to be so beneficial! Can't wait to see all the people who will get helped by this. Have a great day!"

..without this she doesn't know where she'd be...

6)"She is doing awesome!!! She got her GED and a job all in one week! Goes to church with me and will start volunteering at the high school next week. Mentoring works. God's work I threw her a surprise dinner for passing her GED. She said it was one of the most awesome things she's ever had. She'll be a success story. This is so amazing. This is how mentoring should work. This is the outcome that can happen for people! I know that this isn't going to be the case for everyone but if we can reach some people like this and get them on the right path, then it will be worth all the work. At first my mentee was NOT an easy person to work with. Her story is literally heart breaking. Her mom had her at 13 and her WHOLE family has been in prison and are recovering addicts. She had some real barriers to get through but she is doing incredible now. She trusts me and I know she cares about what I'm telling her. I take her places with me to show her what I do and she loves it. It has opened her eyes to a world she didn't know existed. It just makes me cry tears of happiness. It's amazing to see how this mentorship program has positively impacted her. God is most definitely working with her. I would really like for you to meet her sometime and she can tell you her story and what she's doing. We are completing her admissions for college this month and she'll be going to college in the fall!!!! This has worked out awesome. Her PO and I have worked as a team and she is really doing great. She has told me that without this she doesn't know where she'd be."