Program provides ex-cons with second chance - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Program provides ex-cons with second chance

Posted: Updated:
Kellie Johnson is a 20-year-old ex-con with no real direction in life. She was released from jail in May and she made a commitment not to go down that road again. Kellie Johnson is a 20-year-old ex-con with no real direction in life. She was released from jail in May and she made a commitment not to go down that road again.

(WMC-TV) - Ex-cons are getting a second chance, thanks to the a program in Memphis that empowers them to move forward from their past.

Kellie Johnson is a 20-year-old ex-con with no real direction in life. She was released from jail in May and she made a commitment not to go down that road again.

Thursday, she graduated from a program called HopeWorks, which gives her a second chance and the surprise of her life.

"I'm excited because I feel well prepared by them," said Johnson.

It is often said that life is all about choices.

"I don't know what I'd be doing it I didn't come here," added Johnson, who says choices have led her down several paths.

"I was incarcerated for 22 months," she said.

Johnson was arrested for robbery, just two months after she finished high school.

"I did about nine months going back to Jail East and then I did about 13 months at the penal farm," she explained.

In May, she left prison with one goal in mind. She didn't want to make anymore choices that would lead her to jail.

Tara Albright and a 13-week program called HopeWorks came to her rescue.

"She's a go getter, she's really good with the computer," said Albright. "That background was keeping her from getting a job."

Tara works side by side with all participants to choose a career path, get an internship, and find a job. The program also encourages faith in God and hope for a better future.

"You actually have people reminding you every day how good God is, how he's putting people in your life, how he's supposed to not only receive but give. It's always better to give than receive anyway," said Johnson.

At lunchtime Thursday, Johnson received something she has never had before. As she watched her fellow classmate, Janice, get a job, Johnson had no idea she was next.

One week from Saturday, Johnson will get her fresh start with Answering Advantage, owned by Susan Mealer.

"You know, this is my first job," she said. "It feels great. Great is not even the word for it. It feels fantastic. It's security, you know?"

"It's very humbling to be involved with giving somebody a second chance, I think," said Mealer. "And we are very excited to a part of that."

"I feel like somebody's got my back now, like even more," said Johnson.

Johnson and dozens of others who are habitually unemployed graduated from HopeWorks Thursday evening. All of them are hopeful they will find a job to get back on their feet.

Answering Advantage plans to hire several more people as soon as the jobs are available.

Copyright 2013 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Teen killed in crash after prom

    Teen killed in crash after prom

    Friday, April 18 2014 10:46 PM EDT2014-04-19 02:46:47 GMT
    (WMC-TV) - A young man's life was taken too soon. It was supposed to be a high school memory of a lifetime for Andrew Archer, but prom night turned into a tragic night for his family and friends. His promMore >>
    It was supposed to be a high school memory of a lifetime for Andrew Archer, but prom night turned into a tragic night for his family and friends.More >>
  • Woman featured on News Channel 11's Most Wanted list captured

    Woman featured on News Channel 11's Most Wanted list captured

    Tuesday, March 4 2014 12:51 PM EST2014-03-04 17:51:53 GMT
    Rebecca SpearsRebecca Spears
    A woman wanted for a failure to appear in court charge, was captured Monday.Rebecca Spears was listed as wanted by authorities for failing to appear in court on charges of driving on a suspended license and not having insurance.More >>
    A woman wanted for a failure to appear in court charge, was captured Monday.Rebecca Spears was listed as wanted by authorities for failing to appear in court on charges of driving on a suspended license and not having insurance.More >>
  • 7-year-old girl writes book after mother's death

    7-year-old girl writes book after mother's death

    Friday, April 18 2014 8:31 AM EDT2014-04-18 12:31:56 GMT
    (WMC-TV) - Most 7-year-old girls are playing dress up and reading books, but one Mid-South girl is the exception—not just reading but writing books. Shiloh Sanders talked about the inspiration behind herMore >>
    Most 7-year-old girls are playing dress up and reading books, but one Mid-South girl is the exception—not just reading but writing books.More >>
Powered by WorldNow