CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) – A Charlottesville community activist is using his non-profit to make an impact.
Jesse Crosson knows just how hard that transition can be, after being given a second chance, himself.
“Just after my 18th birthday, I committed a robbery and unrelated non-fatal shooting, and I went to prison right here in Albemarle County,” said Crosson. “After 19 years, Governor Ralph Northam gave me a conditional pardon and released me with 10 years left in my sentence.”
Now, Crosson works to help those in similar situations.
Thursday night, the foundation held a mixer at Common House to get its message out into the Charlottesville community.
“We’re a nonprofit that is founded from formerly incarcerated people, and we just feel like who better knows what that population needs to be successful,” said Marci Marie Simmons, a board member with the foundation.
The non-profit works with those behind bars and those transitioning back into society. By partnering with volunteers and community members, the Second Chancer Foundation hopes to reach as many people as it can.
Thank you for everyone who came out to support the Second Chancer Foundation community event last night! We were grateful to make connections and receive support for the projects we have to connect incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals with mentors! We look forward to what this next chapter brings.
We were excited to host our second Leadership Summit at BRJD today. Josh Pritchett, CEO of VEOCareers and a dedicated board member at Second Chancer Foundation went in to share his story and path to success. More importantly he shared his knowledge and perspective and encouraged the kids to reach out to him upon release. He is walking the walk to help those who are where he has been and it could not have gone better. Thank you to everyone who supports our mission and makes events like this possible!
The year has flown by. We are grateful to have signed an MOU with Network2Work to ensure more people have access to employment after release. We are also proud of Quentin for taking point on our first leadership summit at the juvenile center! Many more to come.
This May we are excited to be exploring partnerships with CVCJ (the local Restorative Justice program), LOHM (teaching digital skills to incarcerated and formerly incarcerated persons) and Cisco Systems (job training and placement for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated persons). It’s exciting to see so many relationships come out of a shared passion for change and we’re looking forward to seeing the results!
We’ve been hard at work, visiting both the juvenile facility and the local jail. We’re excited that one of the local juveniles is going to be furloughed to witness a local festival and expose him to a different side of our city. We’re printing stickers with the design created by the artists at BRJD as well as attending events to advocate for community support for the incarcerated juveniles and adults, and especially upon their release. We know that people with opportunities fare far better than those without. That’s why we’re also working on a tech partnership that would allow training for the incarcerated population and help create an incarceration to work pipeline.
We’re looking at expanding the scope of our services. We love working in the local community and are also receiving requests from people outside of our geographic region. So, if you’re interesting in reentry classes or know someone who is, let us know and once we gauge interest we’ll look at scheduling weekly classes. Thank you!
Bryan is back on the grind with our reentry guys as we evaluate the program and see what further services and support will make the biggest difference. We are grateful to the dedication of the guys who show how they want to better their lives and grow into a position where they can help others by sharing their hard-won experience.
We are grateful for a new year and the opportunity to continue expanding and finding ways to support. We have been into the juvenile facility several times, including bringing catered food in for Christmas. There isn’t much that matches the feeling of watching joy and gratitude on the faces of kids who have so often felt unseen and forgotten.
Lots of meetings in the coming weeks to look at the best way to expand. We’re considering online content to make the reentry curriculum and other resources more widely available. We’re even looking at expanding into a foundation model so that we can resource and empower grassroots groups that are doing good work.
We’re excited to see what the new year brings and grateful for your support!
We are offering weekly reentry classes for adult returning citizens. We are also excited to be going through the approval process to begin working in the local juvenile detention center. We have visited our maximum twice before approval and have started building a rapport with the kids. We’re excited to offer reentry classes, partner with a violence interruption group, and provide direct mentorship. We’re looking at options for volunteers to connect and provide mentorship that can bridge the transition from incarceration to release. More information to follow!