Too often it’s assumed that someone who has spent time behind bars has a poor work ethic, is a lost cause, and cannot change.
Chuck’s story challenges those beliefs.
At the beginning of his story, Chuck’s father was imprisoned for murder and his mother left him to fend for himself.
“My mom dumped me in foster homes,” he says. “After 14, 15, 16 [homes], I got so tired of them and had so much animosity and hate for the world that I didn’t want to be around anybody. I went straight to the streets.”
The streets raised him to be defensive, unforgiving, and sometimes cruel.
“I had been [to prison] fourteen times, and I’d say that ten out of those fourteen times had been for violations. I had a problem with authority. I do things my way even if it’s harder.”
Even still, he kept himself industrious while incarcerated.
Chuck’s mental fortitude and hands-on skillsets developed from a young age created unique opportunities for him. For instance, his efficient and methodical approach to projects in the prison metal shop made him foreman, overseeing nearly 100 men.
“I set about reorganizing everything in the metal shop: raw materials come in one door, finished product comes out the other. I restaged everything in that shop so that it was more proficient and more productive,” says Chuck.
But after years of going against the grain, Chuck was miserable living under the thumb of criminality. In 2019, he gave his life to Jesus Christ and was baptized in prison.
Come November 2020, he was referred to Union Gospel Mission of Salem’s Restoration House, our transitional facility for men coming out of incarceration. Within about a week’s time, Chuck had secured a job with a local construction company and was making impressive strides in his career.
“I’ve moved into a key and high-paying position in less than a year,” says Chuck, who initially made the job connection through a local staffing agency.
“[Chuck is a] measured decision maker and is growing as a leader in the Restoration House community,” says Jim, client services coordinator at Restoration House. “Chuck continues to grow a thankful spirit, as well as his relationship with God.”
Restoration House provides a safe and sober community for men to stabilize, pursue gainful employment, and find stable housing.
“None of the blessings in my life are because of me,” says Chuck, giving credit to God. “There’s no way on the face of this earth anyone could move through the system into a job like that so fast. It happened in eight months.”
Donate today to give people like Chuck a second chance at life change. Give at ugmsalem.org/donate.