Former inmates hopeful for second chance at Reentry Summit

Published: Feb. 2, 2023 at 11:47 PM EST
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - People gathered at the St. Joseph County Public Library for the Re Entry Summit to help former inmates reintegrate back into society.

One ex-convict said he is grateful for a second chance, and hopes his story will inspire others to make better choices.

The summit was put on by Mental Health Awareness of Michiana.

During the summit, they learned how to clean up their records, gain employment and take advantage of mental health resources.

“Because, you know, the community is different. We left in a certain time. I left back in 2020 and we are in 2023. It’s kind of different for coming back into the community...I just recently got a job with the Boys & Girls Club. I am definitely grateful for that. Just trying to get my life together. Get it back on track. You feeling me? Leave the past where the past is. Work on the present and my future,” said Former Inmate Sergio Alvarez.

People also heard from South Bend Common Council President Sharon McBride, St. Joseph County Sheriff Bill Redman, and a pair of business owners who found success after reentering back into society.

“You have a lot of people that come out of prisons, and they want to better themselves, and they don’t want to keep going back and forth to jail. With that being said, they need the resources and support because you have some that have been in prison for 10, 15...years,” said Outreach Coordinator with Mental Health Awareness Michiana Takisha Jacobs.

“We work with formerly incarcerated men and women in that restorative process and they become the mentors and we work with the at-risk youth. Those who are the hardest to reach in our community,” said Michael Williams, President of Take Heart Inc.

Here are some local organizations here to help you:

Dismas House, Excel Center, IBEW Local 153, Self Healing Communities and St. Joseph County Community Corrections.