PEORIA, Ill — “As they stick with the program and complete the program, they have a sense of hope, knowing that people love and care about them, believe in them and employers are willing to give them a job, and it’s super important to have people that love and care about us,” said Ryan Gaines, one of the mentors.
For the seventh time, a group of inmates are now graduates of the Peoria County re-entry program.
This graduating class was the largest since the program re-launched two years ago. 28 inmates will now have a second chance at a life, once they set foot back into society. The program, spear-headed by state officials, teaches classes on things like job skills, avoiding drugs and, fatherhood. One of the graduates talks about his experience during the eight weeks of courses.
“When you first start off, you have to deal with a lot of emotional situations, you deal with your past, but once you confront it and you deal with it, and you accept it wholeheartedly, it will change your life if you’re willing to it,” said Gyrune Lin Wood Sr., graduate of the program.
One of the mentors weighs in on the impacts the program had on this year’s class.
The program went away in 2007 but was relaunched in 2017.