Spotlight on a participant: Rodney

rodneygRodney’s favorite quote is from Jackie Robinson “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.” Favorite quotes are often reflective, and after being released from prison, Rodney was looking to get back on his feet. It’s tough to find work, especially when you’ve got a criminal record. But, Rodney was determined to find a job where he could share his experiences and use them to make a positive contribution to his community. Rodney came to Career Gear simply looking for a suit to accompany his job search, a search that successfully ended when he found a position counseling and guiding men and women through, and after, incarceration. Or as he describes it, “I use my experiences to show them how they can be successful, with whatever they need to be guided in the right direction. To get them where they need to go.”

While it’s hard to imagine that a guy with a B.A. in Psychology, with whom conversation ranges from Lao Tzu’s Dao and Descartes’ thoughts on sensually perceived learning, to the importance of using behavioral cognition to help guide the rehabilitation and reintegration of the ex-incarcerated, would really need a suit – Rodney suggests that it provided immeasurable benefit. “The suit just sort of empowered me. Made me feel empowered, ‘cause a suit is good for the self. You don’t have to be a millionaire to look like one.” After going through Career Gear’s Professional Development Series, Rodney returned to us as a volunteer and workshop facilitator. His motives are clear, as reinforced by his claim that ‘the more you give of yourself, the more you get back.’

Rodney believes “It all started with Career Gear.” But his recognition of charitable mentorship’s importance was sown early when his grandmother told him: “When you give to people and have respect for people, you will go further than money will ever get you.” After certain mishaps led him to realign his mindset with his grandmother’s consul, Rodney found support and preparation to help him pursue socially beneficial work. “When I came to Career Gear. It all started. They were here for me and supported me. The thing about it is, Career Gear was like my family. And one thing they helped teach me is about giving back. So that’s what I do now.”

Not only does Rodney consider the information he learned from attending and graduating Career Gear’s Professional Development Series vital, he also finds the program to be motivationally empowering: “Some of the guys I met in Career Gear’s programs, they never graduated from anything in life. So they finish these programs and graduate. And this stuff empowers people. It prepares them to be productive members of their community.” As an example of the good that can come from supportive rehabilitation, we’re proud of Rodney’s successes and look forward to what’s next in his pursuit of positive contribution to society.

“I’m so happy because this is my work. This is my work. This is my life. All I’m concerned with is if, when I’m gone, someone can say Rodney helped my life in a positive way.”