MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Every Tuesday, as part of our Community Changers series, we highlight organizations making a positive impact in our community.
This week, we caught up with a group that believes in people being valued. No matter their background.
Anthony Massey spent a year in jail on drug charges and writing bad checks. Once he got out, he kept trying to find a job.
“You just want a chance. Everybody that goes to jail not necessarily the world’s [most] dangerous criminal. Not everybody a rapist, murder or robber. But the fact you’ve been on jail and have a felony, you’re going to be stereotyped as such, Anthony said. “They always ask have you been convicted of a felony. ‘What do I do?'”
Anthony was able to find employment with the help of Lifeline to Success. A nonprofit organization that helps ex-offenders re-enter society.
“Everyone is a human being and everyone makes mistakes. And when they come out, it’s like they’re still not citizens because we have all these barriers,” Anthony said.
Vinessas Brown is the Executive Director. She knows how hard it is to find a job once you get out of prison. Lifeline to Success was created after she met her husband, De Andre Brown.
“He was very honest with me. He said the federal government, state of Tennessee and the city of Memphis was looking for him,” Vinessas said.
He was wanted for check fraud. After serving his time, no one would hire him. No one wanted to take a chance on him. So he, with the help of his wife, founded Lifeline to Success.
“We do an assessment. We’ll find the biggest needs. Do you have an ID or driver’s license? Do you have your birth certificate, social security card? That’s the beginning,” Vinessas said.
Then, their clients enroll in life skills and job training classes. Blight Patrol is part of the job training program. Their clients are part of a landscape maintenance program that helps clean up Frayser.
“They’re out there cutting grass. Knowing what it means to be a hard worker. They hold themselves accountable,” Vinessas said.
“If you stay long enough and you’re listening and you really want to change your mind and your heart, this is the place for you,” Anthony said.
This is why our anonymous donor wanted to give Lifeline to Success a thousand dollars.
Because everyone makes mistakes, but you should be given the opportunities to overcome your mistakes.
A true Community Changer.