Pioneer Speaks Out About Second Chance Month
We asked our employees and former clients to tell us what reentry support and second chances means to them. Following is a sample of the comments we received back:
"At the point of my reentry into society from incarceration, the programs available to me were the cornerstone to my success. Being provided with the knowledge of, and access to, these programs was absolutely crucial. I found employment with Pioneer Industries in August of 2015, while in work release, and have been here with the company ever since. The fact that Pioneer was actually in the work release I was housed in gave me access to these programs seamlessly. I had no idea that once engaged in the Pioneer community that I was going to learn how to do things like open a bank account, get my license, and move into my own place. These seem like simple steps for most of us but for me I had no idea how to start. Pioneer gave me that start, I am forever grateful for the opportunities and support I received from this organization, and feel blessed to be a part of this family."
Derek Habowski, Machinist at Pioneer Industries
"Our work not only benefits the justice-involved individuals that we serve directly, it also offers a second chance to heal families and to prop-up local economies. The wholeness of a community is only fully realized when the essence of these individuals’ presence there is restored and sustained."
Jennifer Bell, Outreach & Engagement Specialist
“A successful reentry for me was when my willingness to change met with a non-judgmental opportunity. I gained hope. And that hope led to success, which led to self-confidence, and that became the foundation to grow, dream big and continue building a life I am grateful for and proud of today.”
Mary Jo Rechtin, Pioneer Industries Scheduler
"A successful reentry is nothing short of a miracle. To have communities, agencies and organizations care, and express that care passionately through their combined contribution of supporting others who made a mistake and are starting over is amazing. There is a special thing that happens when you feel genuine support. It creates trust and encouragement, as well as accountability. These are some of the things that fuel a successful reentry. I am truly grateful to have consistently had that through Pioneer Human Services and their employment readiness program, Roadmap to Success. To start over and have such support enabled me to not only reenter successfully - but thrive. Graduating from Seattle Central College with an IT Network Designs and Administration degree, and start my own company with a voice for second chances and equitable values is proof. I can say without hesitation that a successful reentry is priceless!"
Myron Curry, former client and current artist and owner of M. Curry Designs
"The importance of positive re-entry means EVERYTHING. With the resources that Pioneer Human Services was able to offer, my second chance was a success."
Clara Stokes, Administrative Assistant III, Pioneer Industries
“When I reflect on Second Chance Month, I immediately think about all the returning citizens I have had the privilege of working with during my 19 years at Pioneer Human Services. Working in the residential reentry centers allowed me to be the first person in the local community to welcome returning citizens home. I was privileged to be a part of their reentry process as they navigated the numerous barriers faced in their local communities. It has been a true inspiration witnessing our clients meet every barrier head-on and, for many, succeed in the reentry process. While the reentry process is never easy, many clients have demonstrated how to handle adversity with the utmost grace and with the determination to keep moving forward. While there is a long way to go until all reentry barriers no longer exist, I am thankful to be working for an organization that advocates for all returning citizens at the local, state and federal government levels. Lastly, to all the men and women that I have worked with during your reentry process, I want to thank you, your families, and your loved ones for allowing me to be a part of your life during your reentry path. You are a true inspiration to us all.”
Joe Miller, Interim Director of Transition Services
"Reentry is like walking barefoot on broken glass. You are hesitant to take a step forward for fear of pain that you've previously experienced. Putting your trust in support/reentry services allows those who are experienced in supporting your needs lessen the fear of change and give you the support and strength to take the necessary steps to be successful on your path to re-entering your community."
Greg White, Maintenance Tech III, Pioneer Facilities/Construction
"If it wasn’t for Pioneer, I believe I would still be in the streets, dead, or in #prison for the rest of my life right now. When I was released from prison the last time in March of 2008, I could not get a job anywhere because of my criminal history. I was being turned away everywhere until a friend of mine told me about Pioneer and gave me a phone number. The rest is history. I’ve been employed here at Pioneer since 4/17/08. I started on the Production floor, and today I am the Production Supervisor at Plant 2. The biggest thing Pioneer did for me was give me a job. Being able to support my family financially gave me back my self-worth."
Toalei Mulitauaopele, Production Supervisor, Pioneer Industries – Plant 2
"Working with Pioneer for 23 years, I have met a lot of folks beginning the journey of re-entering society. It is very rewarding to see the transition of a person in work. To meet them here at Pioneer, watch them begin to establish some job history and work ethic, find integrity in their personal reputation, and then watch them spread their wings and move on to other jobs in bigger companies and really begin to thrive in life is so rewarding."
Sue Ann Lawson, Operations Support Supervisor, Pioneer Industries
“I do not let my past define me. Instead, I let it refine me.”
Joseph Parham, Employment Specialist, Spokane Residential Reentry Center
"Pioneer was there for me when it was time to re-enter the community. I went in scared and timid to rebuild my life and left with confidence and faith that I was going to have the life that was meant for me. And I now have that life. Thank you Pioneer!"
Lana Tourigny, Tacoma Food Services Kitchen Manager
"All of us have made mistakes, some big and some small. The chance to make different choices, be part of your family, and start over is so important. Having been given the opportunity to watch co-workers, friends and people we serve, both past and present, achieve their goals is so rewarding. It is what drives me to come to work. I truly love what I do and am reminded every day that people are so much more than the labels that society gives them."
Rob Sullivan, Director, Whatcom Community Detox
"For me, reentry was filled with lots of uncertainty. Coming out of incarceration, I had no job and my housing situation was not stable. I was lost with no direction, and that was something I had never experienced so I was scared of what my life had become. I was told about Pioneer Human Services and there I got my second chance. After I was hired, I would listen to everyone’s story and it made me feel like I was not alone on this journey and I wouldn’t be judged for my past mistakes. I started to feel like I did still matter and I could successfully get back on my feet and live a happy and fulfilling life again with my family."
Rachel Gutierrez, Administrative Assistant, Pioneer Headquarters
- "Everything!! You get to start over, reunite with family; you are introduced to the work world and responsibility."
- "Getting out for me was a chance to prove to myself and others that it was and is possible for me to live a good productive life on my own. Doing good to myself and others is the best apology I can give and that chance came to me as soon as I was released."
- "Learning to reintegrate into the community and be a productive member."
- "Reentry means a number of things to me. I feel the positive structure and environment of being responsible. I now have stability in my life and can set goals and be more family oriented. I look at reentry as helping me at being a better person - a better me."
- "Being Incarcerated was life put on hold. It meant I was unable to do anything productive or of value to others or myself. Reentry felt like a great burden and responsibility to get my life back to a semblance of normalcy."
Various Comments from Employees at Pioneer Distribution Center