Throughout a portion of his early life, Second Chance participant Kenneth Bradford felt very directionless and unsure of where to turn. According to Kenneth, he was living in a constant cycle of wanting to do better, but continuously falling into a lifestyle filled with addiction. Although he had spent multiple years in and out of the justice system, things were not getting any easier. Unfortunately, Kenneth was reincarcerated at the end of 2006.
Although this situation was not ideal, Kenneth made it his mission to better himself with the time he had. Within the first year of his reincarceration, Kenneth converted to Islam, which became a driving force in his personal development. After converting, he felt the need to give back to his community and be part of something productive, something he felt was lacking in his previous life. With this new mindset, he joined Therapeutic Communities where he earned a variety of certificates and served as an elder, known as the highest rank in the program. This experience gave him the opportunity to get a better understanding of people and develop empathy.
After his release in 2018, Kenneth knew that he did not want to return to his old lifestyle. Even with his new mindset and desire for substantial change, it was initially difficult to keep focused on his goals. Kenneth knew that he wanted to do something different with his life but wasn’t sure where to begin. To assist with some of his barriers, Kenneth was referred to the Second Chance program by his Parole Officer. When he first entered the program in June 2020, Kenneth needed assistance with housing, but was also able to receive help with work clothes, transportation assistance, and developing long-term goals for his future. Although he is grateful for all the help given through Second Chance, Kenneth said the most helpful component of the program is having a stable support system that provides realistic advice to keep him on track. He is also thankful for his Parole Officer, who has been consistently supportive of his successes.
As of today, Kenneth is still thriving in the Kansas City community. Since his release from incarceration, he has taken it upon himself to give back to the community as much as he can, which was a big motive in accepting his job as a cook/dietary aide at Azria Health. In January 2021, he will celebrate his one-year anniversary as an employee. Besides his job, Kenneth is extremely proud of his sobriety and the ability to put himself and his family first. To Kenneth, there is nothing better than hearing the phrase “Uncle Kenny” called out by his nieces and nephews. He has also recently moved into his own home and purchased a vehicle.
If Kenneth had to give a piece of advice to the reentry community, he would suggest believing in yourself and being open to change in the moment. According to Kenneth, “the good news is that my past mistakes are behind me, and the bad news is that my future ones are looking me dead in the face,” meaning he can control how to react to situations he is faced with. After meeting Kenneth, it is obvious that he is always serving those around him and is dedicated to being his best self every day. We are very proud of all the successes Kenneth has had within the past year and are excited to see what else his future holds!