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Instilling Change: Phillip Perkins

Albert Einstein once said that “life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” Even though many of us will occasionally lose balance, it is important to dust off and stay in motion toward your ultimate destination. Over the years, this concept has been very crucial to Second Chance graduate Phillip Perkins’s successes.

Directly after high school, Phillip enlisted into the Army where he spent 9 years serving on their communications team. Through the Army, Phillip was also able to obtain his Bachelor of Science in Structural Engineering from San Diego State University. He spent many years of his life traveling and living all over the United States. Phillip eventually ended up in Kansas City, where he worked as a carpenter and began a family. Although life was going well for Phillip for many years, one isolated incident led him to the justice system.

After spending almost three years incarcerated, Phillip was ready to get his life back on track. Although he was very motivated, it was initially difficult for him to navigate large groups of people and reacquaint with society. Another one of his initial reentry barriers was returning to the carpentry industry, a career he has known and loved for most of his life. To help Phillip navigate this, his Parole Officer referred him to the Second Chance program.

Phillip worked diligently with his Resource Specialist to navigate different opportunities in the Kansas City area that matched his extensive expertise and experience. Once he found employment, Second Chance was able to assist with work tools and bus passes. These resources ensured that Phillip could complete his job duties without having any additional barriers. Although Phillip is appreciative of all the assistance he has received, he stated that the most helpful component of the Second Chance program was having a positive, unbiased support system to help keep him focused and motivated.

Since his release three years ago, Phillip is most proud of his independence and stability. To Phillip, incarceration was a small bump in the road, and he has always remained focused on his personal goals for himself and his family. Besides his independence, Phillip is very happy with the relationship he has with his children and has loved watching them grow. When asked what advice he would offer to those in similar situations, Phillip would recommend staying hopeful and surrounding yourself with positive influences.

As of August 2019, Phillip graduated from the Second Chance program. If he isn’t hard at work, Phillip is most likely working on various handyman projects, cooking delicious meals, or spending time with his children. We are very proud of Phillip’s multiple successes throughout the past three years and admire his determination to pursue his goals. We also thank him for his service in the Army. He is a great example of someone who has succeeded once given a second chance.

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