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.

Join us on May 20th for a Fundraiser to Benefit Second Chance

Derek Clark is in the house! Second Chance is thrilled to welcome Derek Clark, "The Rapping Dad", to its May 20 fundraiser, “Orange is the New Black Season 2: Teens Behind Bars,” at Qualcomm Hall.

Clark, whose mother and stepfather (his biological father was in prison) turned him over to the California foster care system at the age of five, knows all too well about rejection, humiliation, emotional distress and anxiety – he lived it for the next 13 years of his teenage life. Through it all, Clark never gave up and went from victim to victor by defying the expectations imposed on him.  Clark inspires youth and adults to never give up and to not let the past limit their futures. He shares his message of courage, hope and perseverance to help others find the strength to never give up.

Wait…there’s more!

Acclaimed author and filmmaker Mitchell S. Jackson is also taking the stage as our keynote speaker. Jackson grew up during the 90’s in a neglected neighborhood in Portland, Oregon. During his childhood, those streets had fallen under the shadow of crack cocaine. At 15 he started selling drugs and at 19, found himself in prison. During his 18 months in prison he found an interest in literature and began experimenting with autobiographical writing.

Upon his release, Jackson earned his Bachelor's degree and received a Master of Arts in Writing from Portland State University, as well as a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from New York University, where he now teaches. His debut novel, The Residue Years, has already been made into a documentary feature.

You have an opportunity to meet these two extraordinary and inspiring individuals at our VIP reception at 6:30 PM. Tickets for the VIP reception with preferred seating are $150, or $100 with a valid student ID.

General Admission tickets are $75 and include the main event, an international food court, and cash bar. General Admission tickets are $30 with a valid student ID.

Local “photographer for social change” Michele Zousmer will have artwork on display and will be available to answer questions. Proceeds from the sale of her photographs will benefit Second Chance.

See you soon!

Questions? Contact Dawn Redo, Special Events Coordinator, 619-839-0964.

Shop at Jimbo's to Support Second Chance!

Jimbo's Customer Appreciation Sale Youth Garden

It’s on! Jimbo’s annual Customer Appreciation Sale to benefit Second Chance

Second Chance is proud to announce we have been selected as this year’s recipient of the Customer Appreciation Sale proceeds at Jimbo’s ...Naturally!                                                                                                                             
Second Chance will receive 5% of the entire day’s sales from all five San Diego County stores. Additionally, customers will receive a 5% discount on all purchases, and have the option of donating their savings to support our Youth Garden program!

This generous donation from Jimbo’s ...Naturally is an incredible gift to our Youth Garden; it is an investment in the futures of the youth we serve, and gives at-risk youth a chance to become successful, productive members of society.                   

Store locations:
•    Horton Plaza - Friday, April 21
•    Carmel Valley, Carlsbad, Escondido and 4S Ranch – Saturday, April 22                                    
Representatives from Second Chance will be on-site at all stores, between 12 p.m. and 4 p.m.      

Can’t make it to Jimbo’s but still want to support our Youth Garden? Make a secure online donation!

Or, visit one of our pop-up farm stands:
•    Second Chance headquarters, 6145 Imperial Ave. every Thursday, 3 p.m. – 5 p.m.
•    City Heights Community Development Corporation’s Fair @ 44th
•    San Diego County Office of Education  

All locations accept cash, credit/debit and EBT payments. For more information about our farm stands or the Youth Garden program, contact KK, our Youth Garden Manager at