Welcome to the fourth edition of Instilling Change! Last month, we featured former participant Nancy Rose. Stay tuned each month for a different story of success from one of our program participants! -- When Ronnie Walker was incarcerated at the age of 29, he immediately knew that he wanted to succeed and be happy with his life regardless of the circumstances. While this hasn’t always been easy, Ronnie continued to focus on what was most important for him and his life. After being released on parole after over 20 years incarceration, Ronnie has been able to maintain the positive mindset he has today which has made himself and many others proud of his accomplishments.
Before returning home to Kansas City, Ronnie was introduced to the Second Chance program. Immediately after he was released with only $30 in his pocket, he attended Job Club to get started with the program. In an interview, Ronnie explained that “Second Chance has given me the opportunity to open my eyes to see that there is a world out there after incarceration.” The program has been able to help Ronnie with different transitional barriers that have helped him towards a path to personal success.
At Second Chance, gainful employment is extremely important. It is crucial that employment opportunities are matched with the participants interests, allowing a positive relationship to develop in the workforce. Ronnie was also able to obtain help with resume building. Once employed, Second Chance was able to assist with work clothing to make sure he showed up ready to be successful, as well as assistance with transportation to get back and forth from work. When employed, having an income is one thing, while budgeting is another. To look towards the future, Second Chance was able to help Ronnie with financial management to save for future years. When asked in an interview what was the most helpful for his transition, Ronnie answered that it was “a combination of everything” that Second Chance was able to provide him. Ronnie also appreciates the open communication between Second Chance and parole, making the parole process less complicated.
Ronnie also isn’t afraid to admit that life after incarceration “hasn’t been a cakewalk,” but having an organization like Second Chance was able to help him back on his feet. While Second Chance has always been around to assist Ronnie with different needs, things haven’t always been easy. When asked what his biggest barriers were after incarceration, Ronnie said that fear was the biggest one. To help overcome this barrier, he has spent multiple hours doing what he calls “self-inventory” to learn more about himself and how he can make the most of what he has. Facilitating different classes such as anger management and relationships while incarcerated have been important as well.
According to Ronnie, “all of that [at Second Chance] is what I needed in my life.” As of December 2018, Ronnie successfully graduated from the program, identifying that he has achieved stability in many aspects of his life. Fortunately, Ronnie still lives in the Kansas City community with his loving wife and is still aspiring to be as successful as he can.
As a maintenance employee at Ready-Fleet, Ronnie continues to work hard every single day at a job he loves, something that can be very difficult to find. To this day, Ronnie is still very thankful for the multiple second chances he’s been given. “[Second Chance] offers you a different avenue rather than going down the same one that you’ve been on,” explained Ronnie in an interview. They have all been presented to him through his work ethic, attitude, and desire to live a happy life centered around taking a chance on change. -- Second Chance is a program of the Kansas City Metropolitan Crime Commission. If you have any further questions, please contact us at 816-231-0450.