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Instilling Change: Cali Roberta Cox

Updated: Jan 13, 2020

After incarceration, reestablishing your life as a citizen can be difficult. There are multiple barriers that can get in the way of progress, such as lack of available resources and opportunities to get back on your feet. Although these barriers are hard to overcome, many returning citizens can successfully navigate their way back into society. Through perseverance and the generous support of others, Cali Roberta Cox has reestablished herself as a hard-working citizen in the Kansas City community.

Prior to incarceration, Cali was a stay at home mom where she spent most of her time homeschooling her children. Unfortunately, a few poor decisions landed Cali in the justice system. After returning home, she found that she had lost her home, vehicle, and support from her family. Luckily, members of the community stood beside Cali as she began navigating reentry. Many people, often strangers, in both Texas and Missouri were able to offer her clothing, temporary housing, and even an apprenticeship at a boot shop. “It’s very exciting when people unexpectedly help you,” said Cali in a recent interview. Just like other instances in her life, a random encounter with a Second Chance graduate led her to enrolling in the program.

Cali isn’t afraid to admit that reentry isn’t easy, but she said that having a program like Second Chance has been helpful along the way. Second Chance was able to assist Cali with a variety of needs including job search assistance and learning to navigate the workforce. Once employed, Cali was able to receive assistance with bus passes and work clothing so that she was able to execute her job without any additional barriers. After working hard for many months, Cali was able to secure her own apartment. Cali is also thankful for the listening ear that Second Chance has provided over the last several months. Besides Second Chance, Cali gives credit to her Parole Officer for offering genuine support and advice when needed.

Cali is still extremely active in the community. Aside from her serving job at the Crossroads Hotel, she began teaching classes at The Sewing Labs, a local non-profit focused on job training and placement for people in the community. She is also the owner of a small business that creates a variety of leather products and has attended many pop-up events around the city. Cali is also passionate about developing resources in the Kansas City area that are focused specifically on the needs of women reentering society.

Aside from success at work, Cali graduated the Second Chance program in May and recently purchased her own vehicle. She is most proud of her ability to get herself out of tricky situations and back on her feet. Cali is a true example of someone who has succeeded once given a second chance. We are thrilled to watch her grow through each endeavor she encounters.

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