Metaphorically speaking, this man has managed to do precisely what a star truly does and that is to shine in the darkest of places. Jackie Murray, Director of the newly rebranded Empowerment2Employment program, (formerly Work Ready) met Calvin in jail. After a few visits to “Job Club: Soar,” an extension of our program that is specifically designed to reach those who are doing time in Osceola Corrections, Calvin determinedly told Jackie that she would see him again once he was released.
Upon release, Calvin quickly reconnected with Jackie who suggested he attend our monthly “Empowerment dinner.” These events motivate participants in order to provide a platform to interact with our partners and employers. Utilizing what he learned at SOAR, Calvin struck a conversation with Melissa Guevara, head of human resources at Junior Davis. He told her all about his experience as a handy man including his past misdeeds. Most importantly, he told her how much he would love to work for a prominent construction company like Junior Davis. Melissa, a longtime supportive partner provided Calvin with information and encouraged him to stay in touch.
After boot camp, Calvin stopped by Junior Davis’ office to fill out an application. He had never been so happy to pedal his bicycle so much and so far in a single day! As a new employee at Jr. Davis Construction Calvin traded his orange inmate uniform for an orange safety vest. So promising a team member that after only three weeks on the job, he earned a promotion from General Laborer to Vehicle Driver. A starting wage of $11 per hour will be $14 after a probationary period. While Calvin has taken initial, steps on his journey there are many other challenges he must overcome. He must fight to make a better life for his children, fight to re-establish the shaken foundation of his relationship with his wife and fight to overcome the weight and consequences of his prior mistakes. Calvin struggles with homelessness yet he still smiles. Behind bars, he was a standout with a smile on his face.
We who work with this population believe he has the qualities that will allow him to guide his family out of a dark past into a brighter future. Calvin unceasingly thanks the E2E staff for what we have done for him. However, we thank him for what he has done for us. The sense of hope he radiates motivates us to do the work we do… find more with star potential and turn a light on in their lives