Calling All JRT Graduates!

Are you a graduate of Second Chance's Job Readiness Training program? Then we want YOU! We are happy to announce that we are relaunching our alumni networking group, Graduate Connections, for all JRT graduates, starting TOMORROW, July 7th at 11:00 AM.  All meetings will take place at Second Chance.  Take a look at the flyer below for all the details:  

Second Chance Graduates

A Message from our President & CEO

Every year at this time, I sit down to think about what I will say to all of you. How can I express my gratitude for your support of our mission? How can I impress upon you how important your support is and how much we depend on it? What more can I tell you about why you should donate to Second Chance? This year, I thought I’d give someone else a chance to do the talking. 

Dale Watkins photo.jpg

Dale Watkins is the President of Sheffield Platers. Sheffield is a third-generation, family-owned business in San Diego that provides top quality metal finishing and has a worldwide reputation. Dale originally approached Second Chance in 2015. 

“I read an article about Second Chance in The Reader, titled "These People Really Want to Work" and I thought, ‘Wow, I’m interested in people who really want to work!’ I hire a lot of manual laborers, and we tend to get people with ‘colorful’ backgrounds, but many of them just didn’t have the right attitude and didn’t last very long. Second Chance was a step up for us. I got candidates who were pre-qualified, pre-screened and hand selected to fit my needs. And they had already been through their comprehensive Job Readiness Training program, so I knew they really wanted to get the next chapter of their lives started as they recovered from their previous chapter.”

Dale believes strongly in second chances. Growing up in a beach community, he says he saw many examples of people struggling with dependencies, even within his own family. 
“Whatever your mistakes have been, I’m not one to judge.”

Dale estimates he has paid over $500,000 in wages to Second Chance graduates over the past three years. One Second Chance graduate Dale hired started out at minimum wage doing bulk wiring; now she’s a Lead Hermetic Inspector making over $40,000 a year. 

“I donate every year to Second Chance because the work they do is good for San Diego. My company has benefitted in great ways from Second Chance, so why not support a program that has brought me so many qualified, eager-to-work individuals?”

Since 2015, Dale has hired over 35 Second Chance graduates to work at his shop. Just last week, he came back for more. “If you’re taking ownership of what you’ve done and are ready to restart your life, I’m ready to give you a chance.”

Thank you, Dale.

Second Chance’s mission is to help lead people to self-sufficiency. We define self-sufficiency by the following four outcomes: 

1.    Financial – Has basic financial literacy and sustainable employment
2.    Housing – Has access to safe and stable housing
3.    Health – Accesses available healthcare
4.    Resiliency – Has life goals and a plan to achieve them

Thanks to you, in the last fiscal year, 840 men and women who had taken a path in life that led to incarceration, addiction or homelessness were given a second chance and were able to regain their self-respect. Some learned the importance of a smile and a proper handshake, how to write a cover letter and resume, and how to interview for a job with confidence and a positive attitude. Some experienced the safety and support available in our sober living homes. 

And 260 youth came to Second Chance to get services, including case management, and educational, employment and training opportunities. Some learned how to harvest, market, and sell fresh fruits and vegetables in the Youth Garden Program. Others gained introductory skills in carpentry, plumbing and construction. Most learned the value of mentorship, the power of working as part of a team, and resiliency in an often chaotic world. 

The impact we were able to have on these lives was a direct result of the donations we receive every year from folks like you and Dale. There’s no better gift than a second chance. 


Robert Coleman
President & CEO

Guest Blogger: Tony Phillips

My Literal Leg Up to a Second Chance
We don’t always get a second chance. There was the time I spent $49.95 on a pay-per-view fight that lasted two rounds and ended in a disqualification. I can’t unmake that bad decision any more than I can go back and choose a major other than philosophy. (When was the last time you saw a “Philosopher Wanted” ad?)

However, many of us who have faced real crises, real challenges and real obstacles have known the good fortune of a second chance. I have been more fortunate than most in that regard.  I have always enjoyed the love and support of a strong network of family and friends who have been there to help me through bad times. I have also been blessed by support from utter strangers and systems that have helped me through my life’s biggest crisis.

The Big “C”
The day before Thanksgiving, 2011, I lost my right leg to a rare, aggressive bone cancer. I was 45, a husband and father, and within a month I went from having knee pain to recovering from the amputation of 20 pounds of flesh and bone.  Recovering from the surgery was difficult, as I’m sure one can imagine. But limb loss was not even half the battle. The ensuing six months of chemotherapy involved three types of intravenous drugs injected over the course of several days and was worse by far than the amputation itself. It saved my life, but it almost killed me. 

When it was over I had nerve damage in my remaining foot, both hands and both ears. I lost a wide bandwidth of hearing, I could no longer write legibly and I struggled to stay awake through the day while learning to walk on a mechanical leg. And with all that, I needed a job.

Bald Grant Writer for Hire
I happen to write grants and contracts for a living, a career choice I don’t recommend to the ambitious or easily bored. I’ve been working at my craft for more than a quarter-century but no matter how qualified one may be, one doesn’t find a whole lot of prospective employers looking to hire middle-aged, one-legged, half-dead cancer survivors. So it was with some trepidation that I answered an advertisement and showed up for an interview still bald, with no eyebrows, limping noisily and too skinny to fill out my best suit. The interview was with Second Chance and I quickly discovered that for them, it’s more than just a name.  It’s a living mission.

By taking a chance on me, Second Chance opened a door to my future beyond limb loss, beyond cancer and disability. The staff became my friends and benefactors and although I have moved on, launching my own business, I will always owe them for the leg up (pun clumsily intended) they gave me. 

Tony Phillips

And as much as I owe the organization, I also owe the clients who arrived at Second Chance with shattered hopes and seemingly no prospects. I watched men and women recover lost dreams and find new opportunities for self-worth and stability. I saw families reunited, careers launched, confidence gained. I saw youth with histories of trauma, violence, drugs and despair, blossom into new leaders of a generation full of promise, with visions as wide as the world they look out upon with great expectations. I saw all that strength and courage and it fueled my own.

Second Chance
Some days my job boils down to writing elaborate term papers about poverty — over and mind-numbingly over again. But other days I know the satisfaction of having contributed to organizations that make a difference in the lives of individuals and families with far greater difficulties than I will ever know. Organizations like Second Chance. 

Mine is just one story. Second Chance boasts thousands of stories more compelling by far. Each day, the talented staff at Second Chance touches the lives of hundreds of real men, women and youth whose circumstances are not of their choosing and whose hopes for a better tomorrow hinge on the willingness of strangers to hold open a door to opportunity.

I am proud to support Second Chance and to attest to their fantastic work. I hope you will join me.

Tony Phillips, Founder & Executive Director
Kouros Phillips Development

What is Bail?

bail bond

What is Bail?

The United States and the Philippines are the only two countries on Earth where commercial bail bond agents can legally post cash bail. Keep reading to learn more about bail in the U.S. 

Bail is money, or property, that is deposited or pledged to a court, in order to secure the release from custody of a defendant who has been arrested, with the understanding that the defendant will return for their trial and all required court appearances. If the defendant returns to make all their required appearances, bail is returned after the trial is concluded. If the defendant misses a court appearance, the bail is forfeited.

Bail practices vary by state and county, and bail amounts may vary depending on the severity of the crime for which the defendant is being detained.

In California, there are three ways to post bail: cash; a property bond; or bail bond.

To be able to post cash bail, one must pay the full amount in cash, or post a cashier’s check at the jail. Depending on the county, you may be allowed to use a credit card to post bail. If the defendant attends all required court appearances, the cash bail amount will be refunded. If the defendant fails to appear at any required court date, the bail may be forfeited (PC 1305).

The least commonly used form of bail is a property bond. Equity interest in real property is used to ensure an appearance in court. However, the value of the equity must be at least twice the bail amount. To obtain a property bond, the property must have been recently appraised, any liens disclosed and the property equity professionally estimated. If the defendant fails to appear in court when ordered, the county will place a lien on the property and can then foreclose on the property to recover the amount of bail.

The vast majority of people post bail using a bail bond because bail is often set too high for a cash payment. A bail bond is a contract between the defendant and a bail bond agent. Under this contract, the agent receives a nonrefundable premium, which is typically 10 percent of the total amount posted. In San Diego County, if an individual is charged with felony burglary, bail may be set at $50,000 (PC460a). In this example, the nonrefundable premium of $5,000 must be paid to the bond agent up front in order for the defendant to be released prior to their trial date.

If the defendant fails to appear in court, the bail bond agent retains the bail money. However, an agent will typically require some sort of collateral to be posted. This can be a house, vehicle or anything of value owned by the defendant. This collateral is used to cover a forfeiture of the bail amount to the court.

There are currently 500,000 people awaiting trial in U.S. jails because they are unable to post their set bail, which often results in far-reaching consequences such as loss of employment, dismissal from school or inability to provide for dependents.

For an interactive look at the current bail system, check out “The Bail Trap Game” by Brave New Films.