11 years ago, our family lost a father. We lost him to a case of questionable evidence and unstable ethics, but that didn’t change the fact that we lost him. We didn’t lose him to death or disease, we lost him to prison. Over the last decade, children grew and had children of their own, families moved and changed, souls were saved and lives were made new. All of these landmarks were reached without any more paternal presence than the letters we received and occasional phone calls. Regardless of the reasoning behind and for the incarceration, it hurt all parties involved. 
    The time was not wasted, however. Our 
father studied hard, earning his degree as a Paralegal and helping draft legally assistive work for those who were striving for 
opportunities to improve their lives. He 
worked in exchange for hand-drawn cards 
sent to our families for Christmas and 
birthdays, as well as small presents when he was able. He worked to salvage relationships with those hurt by his absence, and seeks to continue in these efforts as he transitions back into free life. No longer in any way in the proximity of those with whom he formerly spent tie and life, he has a new lease on life in a community committed to recovery and regeneration. His chances are not all wonderful however; unless he can find support and care.
    In the state of Kansas, 36% of released inmates retained for longer than a decade and imprisoned for non-violent offenses return to prison for public order violations in the first 3 years out. The Federal rate is even more problematic, with those in the 40+ bracket starting at 50% in year 3 and falling to 36.3% by year 5. The reason for this is a lack of public support for the newfound recovering felon. The difficulty finding gainful and solvent employment immediately after release coupled with the long timelines involved in applying and receiving benefit assistance often leave people like our dad spiraling in a search to provide for themselves and find a place in this world. 
    If we as a community could come together as a temporary leg to prop up the efforts of recovery and regenerative growth, a strong foundation can be built upon which these statistics would shatter like thrown glass; and upon which a new and productive life could be built in time to still bounce grandbabies on knees and see a wedding or two, or more. When those who have been made to repay society for wrongs are done paying, could we not see our way through to helping them find stability so they have no reason to return to that place? 
    Please search your heart and mind; and 
see if you can find within you the wish to 
help rebuild a better life for our father, who is emerging from his cocoon late in life but 
still dedicated to stretching out his wings 
and sharing a better life with us and those 
around him. 
Please donate to his fresh start fund today.