A few days ago, Bud's Warehouse's operation manager, Marcus Weaver attended a meeting on ex-offender issues and ended up sharing our organization's story with Ms. Greigo. She stopped by for a visit later in the week and included Bud's in her newest column that continues to explore ex-offender employment issues.
Kudos to Marcus for being so passionate about the Belay mission and many thanks to Tina Griego and The Denver Post for shedding light on this important issue:
"It's heartbreaking, really," says Jim Reiner, executive director of Belay Enterprises. "The No. 1 factor that determines whether ex-offenders will go back to jail is whether they have a job. Many employers aren't willing to be a felon's first employer, but they are willing to be the second. So, we're the first."
I'll leave you with Patrick Stewart, an ex-con working at New Beginnings, Bud's custom woodworking shop. Stewart is 33 and has been out nine years. He'd never built anything before, he tells me. Now he's making beautiful cabinets and wine racks. He's gone from prison to welfare to work. "At one point in my life, I was just empty flesh walking around," he tells me. "Now, I have confidence. Now, I actually have hope." Denver Post, January 5, 2012.