Each year, many individuals come to Second Chance with the hopes of creating a successful reentry for themselves and their families. While some enter the program with hesitations, others enter with extreme optimism to change. Former participant Kenneth (Kenny) Barfield has been able to successfully navigate the reentry process through constant dedication to himself, his daughter, and everything in between.
After spending four years incarcerated, Kenny knew that he didn’t want to revert to his life of living day by day and hanging with the wrong crowd. During his time in prison, Kenny took advantage of classes offered to him, including computer technology, drafting, seamstressing, and landscaping. To Kenny, these classes were extremely beneficial for career exploration post-release. The variety of classes also helped change his outlook on the world and how it functions. As well as attending a variety of classes, Kenny was introduced to the Second Chance program. Just one week after being released, he attended a Second Chance Job Club and enrolled into the program.
For Kenny, developing trust has never been an easy task. Growing up, he constantly had to watch his back due to the environment he was immersed in. Unfortunately, prison reinforced these behaviors. When Kenny enrolled into the Second Chance program, he was fortunate to be able to work with Second Chance Resource Specialist Michelle McAfee, who worked as his Institutional Parole Officer while incarcerated. According to Kenny, “if I needed to talk to Michelle, she made it possible. She didn’t pass judgement because she already knew me.” This one-on-one relationship helped Kenny develop trust over time, as well as the non-judgmental and accepting environment Second Chance has to offer. Along with developing a sense of trust and belonging, Kenny was able to obtain assistance with job searching, gainful employment, transportation, and work clothing. Outside of Second Chance, Kenny has an extremely strong support system including his parole officer, who has been supportive every step of the way.
When asked what he is most proud of, Kenny replied that he’s proud his old ways of thinking never came back. “As time went on, I learned that I can do things and manage things the right way,” Kenny stated. He is also proud of his financial stability, his great relationship with his boss, and his wonderful daughter.
On December 9th of this year, Kenny will celebrate one year at Superior Aluminum. Since he was hired, he has received four raises. He is also in the process of developing and growing his own business called “Four Seasons”, which specializes in landscape. Although the business is still in its beginning phases, he has a few clients that are already dedicated to his services. If Kenny isn’t hard at work, he is most likely spending time with his family, developing his business plan, or creating a new art project.
Second Chance is very proud of the successes that Kenny has had since his release just last year. He is a successful graduate of the Second Chance program and has completed parole as of this month. We are extremely excited to see him continue to work hard and grow with his new outlook on life.