Second Chance provides the most effective solutions for reducing recidivism, unemployment and homelessness in San Diego County, empowering our participants to make sustainable personal changes to positively impact society. Meet a few of our graduates and learn more about what we do.
Born addicted to heroin, Angie began using drugs at the age of 12; she started injecting heroin at 16. After 20 years of addiction, Angie wanted to leave that life behind but had no skills, self-confidence or hope. Second Chance gave her all three, and a whole lot more.
A 1983 bombing of Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon drove Mancy into a life of drugs as a result of PTSD. A drug deal gone wrong cost him his freedom for 23 ½ years. Second Chance helped Mancy remember why he originally joined the Marine Corps: to serve others.
Video courtesy of The San Diego Women’s Foundation.
“Second Chance helped me know my worth. They taught me how to build my professional skills. They gave me the support and confidence I needed to leave the gang life behind.”
Francisco was a gang member and heroin addict by the age of 13. He served two lengthy prison sentences for gang-related charges. Another conviction had Francisco facing a third-strike sentence of 37 years to life. Instead, the judge gave Francisco a second chance by not giving him a third strike. However, he did send him back to prison for 14 years, during which time Francisco did a lot of thinking about his life. When he paroled he came to Second Chance.
Today, Francisco has over 35 years’ experience working with individuals involved in gangs, and has become a Qualified Gang and Prison Expert for criminal defense teams, including the Public Defender’s Office.
With 22 felony convictions, Helen didn’t know how she was going to get her life back on track. For so long, her life revolved around finding ways (almost all illegal) to support her methamphetamine habit. In 2011, the judicial system gave her a second chance – probation and she took advantage of it. She entered a sober living facility, regained custody of her two children and enrolled in Second Chance. She hasn’t looked back since.
Samantha says her story isn’t that unusual. What’s unusual is she survived it.
Physical abuse came at the hands of her mother when Samantha was a toddler. When she was seven, her mother tried to kill her. She was removed from the home and placed with her grandmother. One year later, her grandmother sent her off to foster care. Over the next four years, Samantha was in and out of at least 10 foster homes. At the last home she was in, she feared she would be sexually abused and ran away. She was 12.
Now in her early 20’s, Samantha is thriving – she’s a loving mom, holds down a job, and attends college.