Vernard was 9 years old when he witnessed his mother kill his father. Without a positive role model at home, he turned to the streets and started to rebel. His first encounter with the law was at 10 years old, and he continued down a destructive path throughout his teenage years, ultimately dropping out of high school.
Arrests & Convictions
Looking for ways to make money, he began to build a reputation as a drug dealer, and eventually became his own best customer. With many failed attempts at sobriety, Vernard’s criminal activity and drug use brought him a track-record of more than 15 arrests and seven felony convictions.
Ready For a Change
By the time of his last arrest, he was homeless and had no family support system. While serving his time at a residential reentry facility, Vernard decided he was ready to make a change. He felt the programs available to him were a gateway to a new life, and he worked towards changing his behavior. Equipped with the tools he learned, he left ready to start a new life.
Vernard is an active member of an Alumni Services program, volunteering countless hours to help the community with an array of projects. He currently works as a Unit Counselor, and he is also an Associate Deacon and mentor to youth at his church. He is happily married and has reunited with his adult children and his grandkids. When asked about his life experience, he says, “Back then my behavior was so selfish. I didn’t participate in my kids’ lives. Today, I live for them and my grandkids. I’m grateful for the second chance God has given me to make up for my past.”