Hit the Ground Running Workbook
Our workbook will be a step by step to preparing to come home. People will get a headstart on their job search, plans to use public transit, understand technology, and coping strategies for the emotional challenges of returning to the community after decades in prison. The book's most powerful aspect is the stories of those who have transitioned successfully. We are sharing some of these stories here.
The menu came out. I was a ball of emotions stirring at the list of so many options. I struggled with table etiquette. I struggled with the ordering; there was too much to choose from. Keep it safe, hamburger and fries it is.
Wait……..what’s this? Seared chicken sauteed in a light white wine. Oh my gosh, I thought, will that show up on a pee test? Sounds fancy, but I will stay away.
I am on parole.
Ate my burger. When I was finished, I wiped my knife off with a paper towel and almost put it back in my pocket.
When I was released in 2017, I was very fortunate to receive employment assistance through CEO (Center for Employment Opportunities, located in Oakland, Ca). After two unsatisfying jobs, I became employed at Every Dog Has It’s Day Care, much through the additional help provided by Shawn Rowland, my social worker. I can’t overstate the value of building and taking advantage of a supportive network, so much of which can be found through the parole system.
Yes, I created a resume. While applying for jobs or even talking to someone about potential employment the question of, do I have a resume, always came up. I quickly understood that a resume would be required in most job opportunities that came available to me. The process of creating a resume was very stressful for me. Prior to incarceration I never held a job, and your resume is expected to cover anywhere from your last 3-7 years, with the name of your employer, an address, years employed, contact information, etc. For myself, the insecurity of being incarcerated for over 25 years and lack of real-world experience only added to the stress so I began to seek help on how o build a resume and provide all that was necessary while not leaving gaps. I would recommend starting in prison. The reason being, I would want to have a timeline of the jobs I’ve held, skills required and skills learned, and the ability to describe my daily routine/functions as they relate to the job I am applying for. Just to have those things accessible and fresh in my mind.
I've learned the importance of having an I.D. has to do with visiting my family member in the hospital. I have a brother in the hospital that's being treated for cancer. To visit him I must have an I.D. My brother let me know that my visits, in addition to his medical treatment, have helped in approving his condition, and that means a lot to me. Without my I.D. this would not be possible.
“Life is easier with an ID! You are in neutral without an ID. You can’t do nothing. They tell you to go out and get a job but without an ID you can’t get a job. “
"Coming out of prison after 25 years and having no real-life adult experiences, I was on crisis mode when I was released. If I would have had my ID on day one, things would have been a lot smoother and less stressful. Prior to my release I had already established contact with potential employment, however, could not move forward with the process after my release due to lack of essential documents (i.e., ID, SS card.) Obtaining my ID took longer than expected and employment opportunity was lost."