Guest Blogger: Veronica Baker

Our Grant Writer, Veronica, joined the Development department at Second Chance in January 2018 and took a moment to reflect on her time learning about the impact of our Adult Programs.  

I’ve always liked the word REDUX. It’s one of those rarely seen words that makes you sit up and take notice. In Latin, redux (from the verb reducere, meaning "to lead back") can mean "brought back" or "bringing back."

I don’t think I ever really thought deeply about the significance of the word until I joined the team at Second Chance. For some reason, the word kept popping up in my mind at odd times – sometimes walking down the hallway at our facility at the Joan and Irwin Jacobs Training Center, or in the midst of a conversation with one of our Job Readiness Training participants, or people enrolled in our Reentry Court program. Redux seemed like a thread that wove its way through each of their lives. The notion of coming back, or being brought back, is one which embodies the spirit of the many people who come through the doors of Second Chance. People whose lives – for whatever reason – took a wrong turn and veered off into some other unplanned direction.

A newly employed Job Readiness Training graduate with the famous bell.

A newly employed Job Readiness Training graduate with the famous bell.

It is evident in their faces, full of hope that this new road will lead to a better place, hope that they can finally leave their past behind.

It is evident in the thoughts and insights they share with fellow classmates, or returning graduates who are there to share their journey back from wherever that wrong turn took them.

And it is evident in the joyful ringing of the large Captain’s bell in our lobby – a rite of passage for graduates who have succeeded in overcoming their challenges and finding work: a stepping stone to independence and self-sufficiency. Each time the bell rings, loud and clarion clear, it is a cause for celebration: not only for the successful job seeker, but the many Second Chance participants who are on their own journeys toward a fresh new start, their own redemptive road to Redux.

Want to Join our Reentry Court Team?

Second Chance is hiring a Senior Program Manager to run our innovative Reentry Court program! View the posting below, or click here to learn a little more about the program.

We're also hiring for other positions- check out our page on Indeed to learn more:

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