BALTIMORE — U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) yesterday joined the leaders, partners and staff of Second Chance, Inc. to discuss how unique ventures in social enterprise like those underway at the innovative non-profit organization housed inside a sprawling former factory could help answer some of the myriad challenges faced in today’s inner cities. In a roundtable conversation that centered on the organization’s efforts to hire and train people from adverse backgrounds in the fields of deconstruction, architectural salvage and customer service, Senator Cardin heard first-hand accounts from four employees with criminal backgrounds who had turned around their lives following the opportunities afforded them by Second Chance.
“It never ceases to amaze me what people can do when they are given even the smallest glimmer of hope, and I saw that transformative power on display at Second Chance. If you want to see people from some incredibly challenging backgrounds turning their lives around, visit them in South Baltimore. Second Chance isn’t only equipping people with the skills needed for ‘green-collar’ jobs, it’s helping communities renew themselves,” said Senator Cardin. “It’s also a lot of fun to shop there – their retail space is huge and filled to overflowing with every piece of architectural salvage you can think to list.”
Organizations that partner with Second Chance, including the Living Classrooms Foundation and Maryland New Directions, also joined yesterday’s discussion, which touched upon ways that the organization’s success could continue to grow and potentially be duplicated elsewhere.
“There isn’t a single member of the United States Senate who hasn’t received a second chance at one point or another,” said Senator Cardin. “If we want to reduce recidivism and truly allow people to re-establish their lives after a criminal conviction, we must allow Americans who have served their time to reintegrate fully by seeking gainful employment in our communities. That’s what Second Chance does for Baltimore, providing job training and real-world opportunities for its staff. Along the way, they learn a number of fundamental life skills and develop professional references, a first for many. The importance of these things to someone trying to re-enter society is difficult to overestimate.”