The Joseph Project, a four-day intensive job employment training course created by Senator Ron Johnson, was recently held at the Micah Center and 11 participants graduated. At the end of the course, St. John’s case manager Eugene Smalls asked two individuals who he saw tremendous growth in speak on what they learned from the course. Scott gave this powerful speech below.
First and foremost, I would like to start off by giving thanks to those of you who have taken the time out of your lives to give us an opportunity to build and rebuild a foundation with all the skills necessary to be successful.
I also want to thank those of you who have taken the time to invest within yourselves. It’s something to be proud of. So do not take this lightly! If nothing else, look at it as a goal you set out to achieve and you did it. So please clap your hands to celebrate yourself! Use this as your motivation to continue to set and achieve your goals. No matter how big or small. A goal is a goal. Nothing more. However, without goals, we have no way to challenge ourselves to reach our full potential.
God has a great purpose for each and every one of us that is unique and tailored to you and you alone. Seek that and the bible says “Ask and you shall receive.” If I’m being honest, my relationship with God is not always what it should be. However, I can and will say God has given me way more than I feel I’ve ever deserved. Over time though, I’ve realized that It’s his divine purpose and his love that has kept me alive and kept me here.
When it comes to the Joseph Project I honestly wasn’t sure what the expect. I have figured it would be no different than the 100s of classes I’ve taken while incarcerated that upon completion ends in a certificate with no intent of any follow-up. I will proudly say I was so wrong. The love and support I’ve received from the Joseph Project staff are that of family and brotherly love so to speak!
I am a 31-year-old man with an incarceration record of 15 or more years. I am a recovering heroin addict and I am a father of four children (three boys and one girl), with two having passed. All I’ve ever wanted was for an opportunity to be presented with a way out of the life I’ve grown accustomed to and for a chance to provide my children with a better life than I had. I pride myself on the fact that I’ve never been a quitter. Since the day I was born my life has been a constant struggle.
I was born unable to eat. So, for the majority of my childhood, I resided in hospitals and the Ronald McDonald house because I was always in need of a machine to feed me. Growing up I was a straight nerd. The person you see before you today is the statistical institutionalized human being due to my family’s codes, morals and ethics, which never reflected that of my own. I always loved school and helping people. It has been a lifelong dream to have a real family of my own and to become a social worker or advocate for troubled children.
I was never given an opportunity such as this in my life and I am extremely grateful.
I plan on becoming an example of how a Joseph Project candidate can and will become a story of success.– Scott