Second Chance- Success Stories


Second Chance provides the most effective solutions for reducing recidivism, unemployment and homelessness in San Diego County, empowering our clients to make sustainable personal changes that positively impact society. Hear from our graduates themselves what resulted from their Second Chance experience.


MEET Angie

Born addicted to heroin, Angie began using drugs at the age of 12. She started shooting up heroin at 16. After 20 years as a heroin addict, Angie wanted to leave that world behind but had no skills, self-confidence or hope. Second Chance gave her all three and a whole lot more.


MEET Mancy

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of the 1983 bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon drove Mancy into a life of drugs. A drug deal gone wrong cost him his freedom for 23 ½ years. Second Chance gave Mancy the opportunity to return to the work he joined the Marine Corp for: to be of service to others. This video was made by Second Chance funder, The San Diego Women’s Foundation.


mEET francisco 

Heroin addict and gang member by the age of 13. Served two long prison sentences for gang-related activities. Another conviction had Francisco facing a third-strike sentence of 37 years to life. Instead, the presiding judge gave Francisco his 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.

“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.”

Today, Francisco has over 35 years’ experience in working with the challenges of street gangs. His personal experience and ability to connect with those involved in gangs contributed to him becoming a Qualified Gang and Prison Expert for criminal defense teams, including the Public Defender’s Office. 


mEET Helen

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. 


mEET Samantha

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.