Second Chances: Standing Up for What We Believe

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”  — Martin Luther King Jr.

At Fedcap we stand for second chances. We believe that with hard work, tomorrow can be better than today. We stand for the Power of Possible.  This commitment is woven throughout the fabric of our agency—and drives us every single day.  For us, a second chance is the next step on a person’s journey to fulfilling their dreams of a better life.

Many of the people who come through our doors, many of the people in the systems we serve, and many of the people we hire, have struggled—for one reason or other. Some have wrestled with a substance use disorder, some have criminal records, and some have crawled across harsh land to find a new life in our country. We are committed to providing them with a second chance.

Statistics bear out that the majority of the time, those in recovery, those who were previously incarcerated, and those who immigrated from another country are responsible, trustworthy and dependable employees. These are individuals who have built strong resilience and who have overcome their past, with intention and purpose. They have much to lose by not succeeding on the job, and they know it.

The employer who offers an individual a second chance is modeling for its employees, other employers and for society as a whole, the values we all should strive for and stand for.

When we combined with Wildcat in 2011, we did so because of their pioneering efforts to provide a second chance to individuals involved in the criminal justice system.  Their history became part of our future.  Our innovative work within Rikers providing clinical, educational and workforce readiness services is resulting in men leaving jail ready to work.  And our exciting Women’s Project, funded in part by Robin Hood and the Open Society Foundation, helps women who are detained at Rikers due to lack of bail money, get out and find a job, a home and a future.

Throughout The Fedcap Group, we hire people both from within our programs and from without who have paid their dues, served their time, and who are entitled to a second chance. Who among us has not made a mistake—sometimes with great consequence—and has learned and grown as a result? Why should those who have struggled not be given a chance to contribute and to bring the resilience, the growth, the learning, and the clear and unwavering commitment to do better? We stand firm in our belief that offering a second chance is the right thing to do.

Our Executive Team completed a four-day retreat in late August.  During our discussion, each of us articulated our personal values and recommitted to our organizational values; we made clear what we stood for. We discussed at length the importance of standing for something, and then living by those principles, especially when others may judge us for our stance.

There are causes in need of trumpeting and the importance of providing second chances is one of them.  I firmly believe that failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker.

I challenge all of us, including employers in every sector—from retail to big business to non-profits to government to charitable organizations—to summon the integrity to support those in our society who are fighting for a second chance.   I think you’ll find, as we do here at The Fedcap Group, that these are employees who demonstrate their loyalty by going over and above, taking full advantage of the opportunity, and giving their very best efforts to do valuable work.

Will you stand with us and commit to supporting those who deserve a second chance?

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