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Instilling Change: Michael Stigler

After spending multiple years incarcerated, it can be difficult to reestablish yourself in the community. A lot of the time, there are various barriers that can get in the way of an individual’s success. Although these barriers aren’t always easy to overcome, many returning citizens can successfully navigate them with the help of determination and access to resources, just like former Second Chance participant Michael Stigler.

While Michael was incarcerated, he made sure to use his time as wisely as he could. Throughout his 22 years incarcerated, he worked as a GED tutor to help his peers study for their exams, gain motivation to succeed, and develop unique study methods. Although he spent a lot of his time assisting others with their work, he also developed his own skills along the way such as becoming fluent in Spanish.

Although Michael spent a lot of time focusing on self-improvement and helping others, he knew that he never wanted to spend time incarcerated again. Even though Michael was extremely eager for change once released, he wasn’t exactly sure where to begin. Like many others, Michael has had to learn how to operate various technologies, as well as reconnect with his family who he had not seen in a long time.

To assist with some of the barriers he was facing, Michael was referred to the Second Chance program a few months after his release. At Second Chance, Michael has been able to obtain assistance in a variety of different areas including independent housing and furniture assistance. Although he initially enrolled in the program for help with securing housing, Michael stated that the most helpful component of the program was the realistic advice and words of encouragement he has received along the way.

As of today, Michael is still very active in the Kansas City area. If he isn’t working long hours at his job, you can most likely find him spending time with his large family. He is also in the process of developing his own landscaping business called “Curb Appeal,” something he has loved to do since he was a child. Even though his business is still in the beginning phases, he has been able to purchase various equipment to get himself started.

The staff at Second Chance are very proud of how far Michael has come since his release just last year. He is a successful graduate of the program as of early 2020. We are excited to see him continue to grow with each endeavor he encounters!

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