Many individuals come through the doors of Riverside House as clients in our residential reentry program each year. Some enter the program with a determination to change and some enter cautiously optimistic. This is the very reason that we treat clients as individuals with personalized programs based on their needs, struggles, and goals. Recently, our staff had the pleasure of speaking with two of our clients who shared their stories of hope and change.
Opening up to Positive Change
*Mr. Raul Gonzalez entered Riverside House’s program after being released from a Federal institution. Upon arrival, Mr. Gonzalez was reluctant to express himself and trust anyone. However, the staff went above and beyond to assist him with his transition including his goals. In particular, his case manager went one step further to create opportunities for him to see his family.
As a result of this positive and encouraging environment, Mr. Gonzalez has obtained full-time employment, has become closer with his family, and is even set to be married in 2017. Although he is no longer in our program, he plans to come back to the facility to speak with clients who may be having a difficult time in their transition and need to hear from someone who has been in their shoes. Mr. Gonzalez plans to stay on the right track in life. He has resolved in his mind that he will not go back to prison again.
Determined to Make a Difference from Day One
Many clients in the Riverside House residential reentry program have come with the intention to become successful and make a smooth transition back into the community. Although this is the desire, many haven’t been able to achieve success because of such issues as substance abuse and failure to follow the rules.
*Tom Hutchinson arrived at Riverside House in December 2015 with one goal: never go back to prison. From the beginning, it was clear that Mr. Hutchinson wanted more for himself. He wanted to able to look back at his life one day and say that he made a change for the better. Upon entering our program, he immediately began asking how he could obtain employment, what classes he needed to attend, and what he can do to be a better citizen.
Mr. Hutchinson went to work right away learning how to say no to self and yes to God. Not only has he been fully participating in our programs, he has been strongly encouraged by his family and has also been attending church services where he receives spiritual support. As a result of Mr. Hutchinson’s efforts, we are proud to say that he is currently employed at a valet service where he has been recently been promoted to a supervisor role.
During his time at Riverside House, Mr. Hutchinson’s growth has been an inspiration to us all. He has learned to be more grateful and appreciative of what true kindness is. He told us that Riverside House has been very instrumental in his life and that he regularly prays for our organization and all of the wonderful staff that work here.
Your support helps us make an impact in the lives of ex-offenders such as Mr. Gonzalez and Mr. Hutchinson as they make the transition from prison to their communities. We are always thankful for in-kind and financial donations as well as volunteer efforts, which help provide resources as we guide these individuals to leading positive and productive lives. When they know that people support them, they are often more willing to make changes for the better. Click here to learn how to get involved in our efforts to change lives and make our communities safer.
*Names changed to protect the privacy of the individuals.