Graduation day, 10 students successfully completed the Re-entry Entrepreneurship program, seven of which successfully started their businesses. The formally incarcerated have so many socio-cultural and socio-emotional challenges as they transition back to society. Formal employment is extremely difficult get for people with felony convictions. We developed the program to help them, through entrepreneurship, become productive members of society. The premise is simple, if they can’t get a job, they. can create their own.
Their desire to re-build their lives and willingness to collaborate and cooperate is as good as I have seen in all my years teaching. I am still mentoring a number of the businesses as they continue their entrepreneurial journey.
I am still working with these entrepreneurs after the course is over. It is a transformational experience for me, working with them on their business ideas. They have have unrivaled Grit and Resilience, but they are often thrown off course by Tempests in their lives and often these often re-emerge from their past. While they are trying to move on, their past deeds continually haunt them. What might appear to me to simply be a 'tempest in teapot', for them when multiplied by 5 or 10 will eventually swamp their ability to navigate towards a better future. They fall into a rut, which sometimes can be overcome by talking to a mentor over the phone or by a text message.