BALTIMORE — April is National Second Chance Month, a time to empower people to redeem themselves, and one local nonprofit is doing just that with a hammer at a time.
Helping, Training and Providing Houses or Homes HTP is a new non-profit organization that teaches construction and job readiness skills to ex-convicts.
It was created by Aaron Thompson, a community activist and construction manager.
Thompson saw how recently released inmates struggled to find jobs and turn their lives around. To give them a second chance, he created this program.
“We take young men who are formerly incarcerated, straight out of jail, with no skills or anything like that. And we pay them to learn a trade. Once they go through our program and learn to do trade, we guarantee them a full-time job,” said Thompson, director of HTP homes.
With the program, participants rebuild homes and learn teamwork through construction.
Each person is paid $15.00 per hour and has free transportation to work, but is required to obtain a GED or obtain certifications to upgrade.
The goal is for ex-convicts to get on the right path, regardless of their story.
“I let these guys know you’re not tough because you went to jail. You screwed up, but that’s where we’re going to make a difference,” Thompson said.
“Mr. Thompson is the right person for this program. He’s like a father figure to us. He pushed us. He helped us grow. He helps us rise and become great, successful men,” said Al Jalloh, a participant in the program.
Professional skills are not the only thing the program offers. According to the prison policy initiative, approximately 64% of inmates have a mental health problem and HTP homes are helping to address this problem.
The organization is always looking for community support through donations or volunteering.
They also have job fairs and other upcoming events. To get involved, visit here.