TEASER: JOE ON MENTORING
Joe is an advocate for criminal justice reform. By the age of sixteen he had been incarcerated seven times.
I met Joe alongside Kent and Lisa for a conversation about their lives and work. All three are part of a movement to reform our criminal justice system.
Reuniting with Lisa, a high school classmate, was true kismet. You'll hear more in upcoming posts about her path to her current role in which she is doing no less than changing the world. It was Lisa who introduced me to Kent and Joe who are transforming their stories into advocacy. Both Kent and Joe spent the majority of their teen years in juvenile camps. They spoke to me candidly about their childhood, the normalcy of gangs in their communities, the sense of belonging they provided, and how their "passion for their gang" was reinforced through the violent culture of our juvenile detention centers where staff often turned a blind eye.
To say that the challenges they have faced were enormous would be an understatement. And yet, during the time leading up to their release, they met mentors who recognized their strengths and connected them with career opportunities. As Lisa would say, to give them not a second chance but "first fair chance." After his own release, Kent mentored Joe while he prepared for life back at home. Joe now serves in the very same position that Kent filled. More on Kent's story to come (spoiler: he's a bit of a superstar).
It was extraordinarily difficult to chose a moment to share from Joe's story because his wisdom and honesty could fill many, many books. In this brief clip, Joe describes why he mentors incarcerated youth.
*As a note - Kent, Joe, and Lisa's reflections for this podcast are entirely their own and are not intended to represent their organizations.