Giving an Ex-Offender a Fresh Start

Brett had spent 18 of the past 35 years behind bars. Released for what he expects will be the last time, Brett began trying to get his life together. Although Brett wanted to turn over a new leaf and contribute to society, finding a steady job with five felonies on his record proved extremely difficult.

After countless applications and interviews, Brett still remained unemployed and could have become another statistic of high recidivism rates – returning to a life of crime because a crime-ridden past greatly limits the possibility of a future with a decent job. But then Brett discovered the Cincinnati-Hamilton County Community Action Agency’s Ex-Offender Fresh Start program.

He began to realize that while he couldn’t change his past, he could change the way he approached the future. Fresh Start taught him interview skills, provided guidance on how to dress professionally, and helped him work through responses to those tough questions about his criminal record. Fresh Start also provided him with a job lead that would result in steady and gainful employment.

The next month Brett began working as a crew member at a local McDonald’s, one of ten owned and operated by Kilroy Restaurants, and eight months later Brett graduated first in his manager training class with aspirations of becoming the general manager of one of the company stores. Brian Kilroy, director of operations could not be more pleased saying, “I am very excited for Brett. He has more potential than anyone I have seen in a long time.” Brett says, “The program changed my life. There’s no shame in where I’ve been because I’m proud of where I am now. Things are really, really going well.”