How Hope 2 Hire is building stronger communities

When you throw a rock into a pond, you can watch its impact grow. Each outward-bound ripple represents the spread of force caused by the rock breaking the water’s surface. That’s often how we think of our work through Hope 2 Hire. We provide the initial force that allows our students to expand their horizons and reimagine their lives. 

Fundamentally, we’re a job training organization. We help people in prison earn technical skills in high-demand trades so they can obtain and maintain meaningful work upon release. But the ripple of that training expands far beyond a job site – it transforms communities. 

How is Hope 2 Hire building stronger communities? We’re happy to tell you.

We’re investing in people… 

The investment made in the lives of our students is multifaceted. Most tangibly you notice the educational component of our work. But our students also receive faith counseling from our partners at HopeWorks. They receive addiction, emotional and behavioral counseling from a network of qualified mental health professionals. We forge external connections through our mentorship programming. Above all, we invest in the lives of our students. When our students graduate, we want them to prepare to leave prison knowing that there is a team of people in their corner. This investment is life-breathing and revitalizing for many of our students.

Who then invest in their families… 

Incarceration has an undeniable impact on families. Children spend birthdays without their mothers. Uncles miss watching the Super Bowl with their nephews. There is real and tangible pain that touches countless lives when a person goes to prison. But when their loved one is released and has an opportunity to make meaningful life changes, families can start to heal. Our students leave prison with skills needed to repair relationships and curb old habits. Most importantly they can simply be there: for birthdays, barbecues, weddings and every pivotal family moment in between. And as their family is strengthened, the ripple extends further outward. 

In their communities…

Family isn’t just the people that live within your four walls. Many of our students have abandoned friendships, churches and other communities filled with people who love them. The distance created between our students and their communities is only widened by their time in prison. But just like with families, our students can leave prison with confidence and engage these critical support networks. From coaching a community basketball team to reading with neighborhood children after school, our students can start to invest in their communities again. As people invest in and care for others, we are all made better.

And in our economy. 

Memphis is its strongest when every member – from the Mississippi border to our northernmost bounds – finds personal and professional success. We all have a vested interest in supporting the well-being of our neighbors. Our economy is diverse and has roles that need filling. Our students are rising to the occasion and meeting those goals. Through careers in construction, masonry, culinary arts and logistics, our students are literally reshaping our city while earning a living wage that can support their families. They invest in our economy not only through their contributed efforts, but also through the spending they now do with a fair working wage. We all benefit when we provide a second chance for our brothers and sisters to reenter with the economy after release from prison. 

No one in our community is untouched by the ripple effects of incarceration in Memphis. Those aftershocks are often painful and cause harm. But through programs like Hope 2 Hire, we’re adding a positive influence to the equation, one that touches each of our lives and makes our community stronger.

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