The first 90 days outside of incarceration is often the most difficult to navigate, especially if you are starting fresh in a brand-new city. Fortunately, Second Chance participant Geoffrey LaMear has defeated the odds and has carved out his own path towards success with his consistency, determination, and hard work.
For most of his early life, LaMear was a full-time drug dealer in St. Louis, Missouri. While he spent most of his time dealing drugs, he was using them as well. He was eventually sentenced to prison for felony convictions.
During the first three and a half years of his incarceration, it was difficult for LaMear to break his lifestyle of addiction. In an interview, he stated that he spent much of his time using drugs and getting into fights with other inmates. After becoming very invested in his Muslim faith and meeting others in the community, he began to taper off his drug usage. Once he stopped using, he started stepping up into leadership positions within the Muslim community, including becoming an Imam for a period of time.
Once he was released from incarceration, he knew that returning to St. Louis would not be beneficial for his success. With this in mind, LaMear made the decision to start over in Kansas City. Within the first few days of his release, LaMear decided to reach out to Second Chance for assistance. Quickly, he found employment through a temporary agency and obtained a cell phone. Although he was taking initiative, it was difficult to navigate some reentry barriers such as finding a permanent job and independent housing.
Through Second Chance, LaMear received help finding a full-time permanent job to help build recent work experience, which has been the most helpful component to the program. Once working, Second Chance provided work clothes so that he could show up to successfully work every day. After maintaining stability at his job, he was able to receive assistance with apartment hunting and rent assistance. LaMear is very thankful for all the assistance he has received at Second Chance.
As a Warehouse Associate at Kanbes Markets, LaMear works hard every single day at a job that he loves. He is very thankful for his coworkers who have been extremely supportive since he began in February 2021. According to LaMear, he feels very confident in his position and that he is a perfect fit for the organization. Now that LaMear is working at a job he loves and has secured independent housing, he is looking forward to obtaining his drivers license and purchasing his own vehicle.
To LaMear, faith is one of the most important components to his success. When asked what he is proudest of, he stated that he is most proud of his ability to maintain his values as a Muslim while navigating reentry. While it has not always been easy, LaMear was able to set boundaries regarding his faith with others which has also helped his success.
The staff at Second Chance are extremely proud and inspired by all that LaMear has achieved in just 90 days out of incarceration. He is a wonderful example of someone who has succeeded once given a second chance. We look forward to seeing what he accomplishes soon!