Zane's Story


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.

Zane's story


“In life, you can get through anything, I think, as long as you can stay positive. If you lose a job, you can get a new one. If your car breaks down, you can save money to buy another one, but one thing that will stop you on a dime is your health.”


When Zane was convicted and sentenced to 12 years in prison, he thought that he might never recover. Sitting in his cell, he couldn’t imagine a future while thinking about a past that he couldn’t forget. Many nights, he sat there counting his regrets.


When the COVID-19 pandemic began, Zane was sitting in a solitary cell, but he could hear people around him coughing. He could hear people screaming. Without regular access to news, he had an idea of what was happening in the world but wasn’t sure how it might affect him. 


One day, Zane began to feel ill. The prison that he was in has a reputation for slow response due to inmate malingering – a diagnosis commonly given to prisoners that the staff believe are faking illnesses. Zane persisted in seeking medical attention. However, while awaiting treatment, he wondered, “Is this COVID?” 


It wasn’t. The results that Zane received would change his life. 


When the results came back, Zane discovered that he was H.I.V. positive. “There’s no telling how long I lived with this. That wasn’t my concern, though. All I could think about was how I would get good medical care to live a longer life and what I would do with the rest of the time I have left.” Zane reflects. 


While attending a rehabilitative class inside the prison, a guest speaker entered. It was a representative from the T.O.R.I. program. One theme stuck out to Zane throughout the conversations about T.O.R.I.’s services. “All I could hear in that man’s message was hope. It sounded like maximizing the time that I had left. It sounded like bouncing back, being the best man I can be, and building a life I can be proud of.”


Today, the T.O.R.I. office is Zane’s safe place. When Zane returned home from prison, Zane immediately signed up for the T.O.R.I. Program and started working on a plan of action that included finding a H.I.V. Specialist, obtaining healthcare coverage and connecting him to affordable health clinics and pharmacies. His case manager also connected Zane to one of our healthcare partners that provides supportive housing for men and women surviving H.I.V. 


He’s currently working as a forklift operator at a warehouse for a national company, and he’s in the running for a promotion. The community medical services that T.O.R.I. partners with will assist with the costs of his treatments and even deliver his prescriptions to his home. To Zane, it feels like the diagnosis that he thought was going to be the end of his life is just the beginning. 


“Not long ago, I was in a cold, dark cell. I was alone when I found out about my diagnosis and without hope. Today, I have a supportive community of people going through the same things I am. I have a career, a roof over my head, and a life I am finally proud of.” Zane says with a smile. 


“I’ve made mistakes. I’ve stumbled, I’ve fallen, and I’ve picked myself back up. On the shoulders of my supporters, I will continue to rise. It’s the T.O.R.I. program that made all of this a possibility.”

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.
T.O.R.I. Employment Partner
I wanted to feel that sense of worth again. I wanted to contribute again. I wanted to make up for lost time.” Bradley said firmly. After Bradley had completed various assessments and begun his employment coaching class, his T.O.R.I. case manager set up an interview with one of T.O.R.I.’s employment partners, who valued his experience and understood his unique circumstances.
T.O.R.I. Alumni
“Redemption,” he thought. “That’s what this is about.” Turning to face the crowd of thousands, he saw his wife and children. He waved, and though they didn’t wave back, he stood tall. “She’s seen the miles I’ve walked and the changes I have made. If I keep walking in integrity and working hard to be the best version of myself, I can have the life back I took for granted for so long.” Calvin said with a look of hope in his eyes.
T.O.R.I. Alumni