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Instilling Change: Tyson Baker

By connecting your inner child to your internal being, you bring out the hero in you that is inside all of us. - Kim Ha Campbell.


In a world where nothing is guaranteed, Tyson Baker knew all too well how things, people, and places change. The oldest of three siblings, he was soon made to be an example – but not necessarily for good. Being on his own since the fragile age of 13 years, Tyson wasn’t afforded the luxury of a happy, healthy, two-parent household. Often neglected, Tyson turned to dealing drugs to make money. All the while his father was forcing him into street fights to help pay family bills. With all the turmoil at home, Tyson became a ward of the state as a teenager and was then raised in the juvenile detention system.


Seventeen and locked up with no support system from 2017 until 2021, Tyson found himself in and out of incarceration. He recalls that going back and forth to prison was due to his “wanting to live the fast life.”  Upon his release, Tyson decided to focus on his health, anger management, and staying out of prison for good. In 2021, he home planned his release to a transitional house until he was able to get his own independent housing. It was around that time that his Parole Officer recommended Second Chance to build on his stability.


Tyson’s Second Chance Resource Specialist encouraged and pushed him toward his goals and believed in him. Tyson recalls the strong bond that his Resource Specialist established with him, and how positively it affected his journey to get off parole and stay in Kansas City. While he never really struggled to find employment, his time growing up in the juvenile detention system delayed his understanding of financial management and living within his means. His Second Chance Resource Specialist focused a lot of attention on budgeting and saving money, as well as necessary activities to get his driver’s license reinstated.


Second Chance and Tyson’s Parole Officer played a huge part in helping him to heal and find purpose. One of the things Tyson says he needed to hear growing up was that he wasn’t alone. Although he may have spent his time alone while incarcerated, he still needed to hear it.


When asked what advice he would give his younger self, Tyson says he would remind himself that “there is an end result to everything you do. You must work for it and push. Why waste more time?” Now a graduate of the Second Chance Program, Tyson is proud of his work ethic and the relationships he is building in Kansas City.

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