Take a moment to #turnthepage and read the tear-jerking stories of our clients, donors, volunteers and partners about the reasons they became a part of the T.O.R.I. program and the life-changing impact the Texas Offenders Reentry Initiative has had on their lives.
T.O.R.I. EMPLOYMENT PARTNER
“I can’t say someone handed everything to me in my life, but I can say that I’ve been cut more breaks than most. I can also say that I was allowed to keep going with very little interference when I made a mistake.” Luke says. Luke is the regional franchise manager of a national paint supplier and paint contracting company based in Dallas.
“My childhood was private schools, a nice suburban home, little league, and a picket fence. My father owned a small painting company, later acquired by the company I work for now. For me, things fell into place.
One day, I thought, ‘What about those who don’t get these opportunities? What about those that make a mistake?'” Luke asks. “That thought has been in my mind my whole adult life, but the answer came in April of 2019 when a friend invited me to attend a luncheon at the Potter’s House hosted by an organization called the Texas Offenders Reentry Initiative. The work companies like AT&T were doing with men and women coming home from jail and prison moved me. Then, as the event drew to a close, T.O.R.I.’s Founder, Bishop T.D. Jakes called employers to get involved in hiring the people who are a part of T.O.R.I. At that moment, I finally knew my purpose. I knew that I could be part of the solution.“
Since that day in 2019, Luke has hired about two dozen T.O.R.I. clients. When asked what T.O.R.I. clients bring that others do not, he responds: “Those T.O.R.I. clients have a drive and desire to persevere. I think about it this way – We’ve all had the flu at some point. Think about that first day that you feel better. It feels so full of possibility. The sun shines brighter; the sky is bluer. You have a deeper appreciation for the possibilities in life. That is what we get from T.O.R.I. clients. The difficulties they have faced due to a simple poor decision are unfathomable, but T.O.R.I. has a way of framing a future of possibility. They all come to us with that hope and readiness to work.” Luke explains.
What has surprised Luke the most through his partnership with T.O.R.I. is how the clients referred to him have overcome so much and retained so much skill and ability.
“Each person that T.O.R.I. has sent to me has cultivated a set of skills and abilities that lend to success, and in most instances, they just need someone to believe in them. Someone to be patient with them. Someone who won’t judge them. That’s all that I have to provide. In return, I get the most loyal and motivated employees possible. Most of the guys working for me who haven’t been to jail or prison could not imagine what men and women from T.O.R.I. have been through, particularly as they stand anonymously beside them, displaying such resilience and perseverance.”
For Luke, his partnership with T.O.R.I. is his most valuable.
“One of the guys that T.O.R.I. sent me has nearly a lifetime of experience in the painting business. Like me, he grew up in it, working alongside his father and his grandfather.” Luke explains. “Unlike me, he found himself in a difficult situation where he lost everything. Relating to him – a man who looks different from me and grew up in a different neighborhood than I did but shares some of the same childhood experiences – I had to give him this second chance. I am so glad I did. He’s on a strong path to open our newest regional location and is more than capable of making it a success.”
Another thing that surprises Luke about his involvement with T.O.R.I. is the praise he gets from those he hires and the community. It’s a win-win situation to him, and he thinks another group of supporters make an even more significant difference: “T.O.R.I.’s donors are the real M.V.P.’s. Because of their contributions to the program, people just weeks removed from a jail cell get premium programming, tangible needs to start work, and a professional staff that makes reentry possible.” Luke explains. “Truly, all of our successes are on the backs of those generous citizens out there.”
Are you a business owner or manager? Contact Monica Dorsey, T.O.R.I. Employment Specialist at firstname.lastname@example.org to become an employment partner today!