George Follows His Artistic Dream After Prison
Pioneer’s residential reentry programs serve as a bridge from incarceration to life in the community. Through a contract with the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Pioneer serves men and women referred from federal prison at all four of the residential reentry centers across the state of Washington. Recently, staff from the Pioneer Fellowship House (PFH) in Seattle shared an inspiring story about a resident named George, who decided to really pursue his dreams in the world of art and excelled in his efforts.
While incarcerated, George started immersing himself in art and became a self- taught artist with no prior art training and art skills. He was admitted to PFH early because of COVID-19 related safety releases. Since his arrival at PFH, George has taken the initiative to enroll in art and photography courses at the University of Washington and Green River College to further his knowledge and talent as an artist.
When an individual enters one of our residential reentry centers, staff work closely with the person to ensure a successful transition back into the community. Through an array of support services, residents are assisted with many things to include:
- Learning to focus on finding and retaining employment
- Reconnecting with their family
- Engaging in substance use disorder treatment if needed, and other mental health or medical issues
- Becoming a productive member of society
Brendan Seibert, PFH director shared, “It is incredible to witness what George and his PFH case manager, Angela Awuah, have worked on together to enable George to reach for his career goals in art. They created a unique experience where George was able to follow his passion, while still meeting all the requirements that the courts require of him.”
Seibert added, “George has also done something wonderful with a really difficult situation. Instead of sitting with idle hands, he chose to hone a new skill and the results are amazing. It’s always heartwarming to see a client come to us with a unique skill and PFH staff is able to guide and encourage the client to utilize that skill to build a better life.”
Recently, George was encouraged to enter his artwork in the International Photography Contest and among thousands of entries, he won the Honorable Mention award for a photograph he entered! We are so thrilled for George’s success and drive to follow his dreams.
Angela Awuah, PFH case manager said, “It has been so inspiring to work with George on his journey pursuing a career in the art industry. It has been a pleasure and reminder of what it means to help people take a second chance at life.”
Awuah continued, “Working with George, and assisting him navigate through barriers to reach his goals, has been an amazing experience. George has proven that any negative situation can have a positive outcome. He also has proven that staying motivated, learning as you go, and facing any adversity head-on, not only challenges you but it makes you better as a person. I am proud of the accomplishments that George has achieved and proud of his determination to be successful given everything he has dealt with in the past.”
Once George releases from PFH, he plans to start up a photography business specializing in wedding photography and show casing his artwork in art galleries. All of us at Pioneer want to congratulate George on his award and perseverance, and wish him a very successful future.