Glenn Smith heard the same thing over and over in the life skills classes he led at the Mecklenburg County Jail: If I had learned this stuff when I was younger, I probably wouldn't be here.
After hearing this refrain for six years, Glenn proposed a youth prevention program to the Juvenile Crime Prevention Council, the group that decides which organizations get money from the crime prevention funds the NC Department of Public Safety gives the county each year. Glenn ended up getting his program funded, and he set to work, inspired by those words from the inmates at the county jail: If I had learned this stuff when I was younger, I probably wouldn't be here.
Written by Amy Andrews, Photograph by Lindsay Kappius
Changed Choices was created to empower currently or recently incarcerated women to achieve lasting positive change in their lives. It began in 1999 when founder Ruth Snyder was contacted by her friend at the chaplain’s office at the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office (MCSO). He had come across two women who were brought in on charges, “they were terrified and feeling very much alone.” Ruth went to MCSO Detention Center to meet with the women, encourage them and eventually mentor them - and Changed Choices was born.
According to Katie Gauntner, Development Associate for Changed Choices, “the concept behind Changed Choices is straightforward - provide supportive relationships and walk beside clients so that their life looks different once their time is served.”
Since arriving here nearly 15 years ago, U.S. Bank has put down deep roots in the Charlotte community.
The bank has more than 850 employees in the area working in a variety of businesses, and just last fall launched a retail banking expansion that features an innovative new branch on Tryon Street. Later this fall, the bank willl open a second branch serving Pineville and the greater South Charlotte market.
In Charlotte, like in all the cities where it operates, U.S. Bank is committed to supporting local nonprofit organizations. Its employees also donate thousands of volunteer hours to the charitable causes that mean the most to them.
Written by Eden Estabrook; Photo Credit: Lindsay Kappius
Pots banging. Knives chopping. The smell of baked goods wafting through the air. As I walked through Community Culinary School of Charlotte’s (CCSC) location at 9315-D Monroe Road, the kitchen was alive with the sights, smells, and sounds of students and teachers preparing for the opening of the School’s Cafe in a couple of hours.
Saichelle McNeill believes in second chances. The owner of Washroom Laundryin Charlotte has found her newest employee through LifeWorks!, an employment program that helps people with criminal records reach their professional goals.
Over 10,000 returning citizens are released from America’s state and federal prisons every week and land back in their communities often without much support or direction.
Further, approximately two-thirds of the 650,000 ex-offenders who are released from prison every year are likely to be rearrested within three years of release (Department of Justice). Why? Being formerly incarcerated comes with a host of barriers and obstacles as individuals strive to successfully reenter society and start a new chapter even once they have been freed, physically.
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