CHANCES

It’s

Not

Just a

Matter

Of giving

Someone a

Chance. It is a

Matter of that one

Taking a chance on you too.

With either way,

it takes a bit of faith.

To achieve the success

that both parties desire.

Simon Stargazer III (Apr. ‘18) tells the tale behind his lines, “When my stepson, John went to prison several years ago, I didn’t realize that it was the beginning of my unofficial prison ministry. We visited as we could, and over time helped him with supplies and emotional support, that often spilled over on to other prisoners. He took college courses, and computer workshops which spilled over into teaching and tutoring computer, math and other skills. After two Associates and two Bachelors’ degrees, John decided to earn a Masters. He was accepted at an online program at a California university. At that point, I unwittingly became his research assistant. A few years later, after sending him hundreds of pages copied from a multitude of sources on line, John produced a thesis analyzing the anti-Semitic background for the Holocaust. (Accepted and printed in 2009.)

  A year later, he earned early release to a work-release program, followed by a year of house arrest. Finally, we were able to help him buy a home.

In the meantime he steered newly released felons to us. The men stayed in our “mother-in-law” addition.  We mentoring to help them re-enter local society with some degree of stability 

         Of six people we helped, three have been successful. (Much better than 75- 90% rate of return to prison that currently exists in our state.) Of those six, John was the most successful. He earned a salary of almost $50,000 a year managing several departments in a major non-profit recycling firm.

Another man, Steve, has worked for several years as an office manager in a major firm in our city, has a fiancé and his own home.  A third man, Paul, is still with us.  He has worked successfully in several construction jobs, where he has earned high praise. In another year, he should be able to buy his own place as well.

I am sad to report that John, who has been our vetting source for felons to help, has recently died.”

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