As motivational speaker Iyanla Vanzant once said, “when you stand and share your story in an empowering way, your story will heal you and it will heal someone else.” Since his release from incarceration in April of 2017, Second Chance program graduate Tyson Mayes has navigated reentry through crafting his own honest story and inspiring others to do the same.
Although Tyson wasn’t sure what direction he wanted to take his life, he took it upon himself to get involved with activities that would better himself over time. While incarcerated, he became a certified welder through a 9-month program. Tyson stated that this helped boost his self-esteem and broadened his skillset. He also was involved with Puppies for Parole. Even though Tyson was gaining critical skills, he still knew that prison was a place he never wanted to be again. Overtime, Tyson developed a relationship with the Second Chance program through their prison outreach events. Within a month of his release, Tyson came to Kansas City and received a referral from his Parole Officer to help diminish various reentry barriers.
At Second Chance, Tyson was able to obtain assistance in areas such as job readiness/career development, receiving work clothes, transportation, and financial assistance with housing and other utilities. Tyson stated that although every aspect of Second Chance has been helpful for his reentry, the consistent support and realistic advice from the staff was the most crucial to his success. According to Tyson, “they didn’t want anything from me besides wanting me to do good for myself.” Besides Second Chance, Tyson is very thankful for the support he has received from the 12 Step Program, his sponsor, the Maple House, and his close friends.
In April 2019, Tyson successfully graduated from the Second Chance program and completed Parole. Although he has been out of the program for over a year, Tyson continues to dedicate his time to helping others in the community. In March 2020, he spoke at a Second Chance Welcome Back event to share his story and to provide hope and advice for those just getting started with reentry. He is also an active leader with the 12 Step Program, where he facilitates meetings for the other program participants and encourages them to be active in their own lives. When asked what he is the proudest of, Tyson replied that he’s proud of his mindset changes, recognizing what his triggers are, and his willingness to assist others when they need it most.
If Tyson isn’t hard at work or helping others, you can most likely find him fishing or spending time with his dog named Sue. We are extremely proud of all the successes Tyson has had in the last three years and look forward to seeing what he accomplishes in the future. He is a true example of someone who has succeeded when given a second chance.