Re-entry conference helps people with challenged backgrounds succeed

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A local program is helping people in need of a second chance.

Wee Care Inc. and the Choose Life Project have teamed up with Pursuit of God Church in Frayser to host a re-entry conference.

The free conference was held on June 23 at Pursuit of God Church, 3759 N. Watkins, Memphis.

The program helps men and women aged 18 and over with challenged backgrounds receive assistance and resources to help them succeed.

Services include help with child support, driver’s license reinstatement services, health care support, and family reintegration support.

Emergency housing assistance and expungement services are also available.

19-year-old Cameron Bruce says solving the crime program in Memphis starts with exactly what happened at Pursuit of God Church in Frayser, where the re-entry conference took place. He says if we don’t have more programs similar to this, we’re going to lose more young people to senseless crime.

“Solving teen violence, let’s just come together, take guns off the street, be there for young people,” said Bruce.

Bruce was 12 years old when he went to jail. Unfortunately, he also joined a gang at a young age. Although he’s out of jail now, he says his life could have been different if he had the key leader that’s missing in a lot of homes in our community.

“They start the gangs because the gangs is there to keep them together,” he said. “If you have a parent at home like I never had a father figure, so I didn’t know what to do.”

Bruce says mentors like Pastor Ricky Floyd of Pursuit of God Church saved his life. So Bruce’s advice to the community is simple: be a mentor and host programs that will give people like Bruce a second chance.

“The thing about the program is we want to stop recidivism,” said Floyd.

“I say put more rallies out and just try, try to be out there and help them,” Bruce said. “Stuff like this, intervention.”

Bruce is talking about the Re-Entry Conference that Michelle Jones started at Pursuit of God Church after her siblings entered the system as children.

“I wanted to make sure that I knew the ins and outs, the mental stability that it took in order for them to come out and succeed, so it was kind of therapy for me as well,” Jones said.

“It’s very important for people to know that you actually got somebody out there that want to help you, that care for you,” said Bruce.

This was the first time that Jones hosted the Re-Entry Conference. Bruce says it’s important for organizations to team up with faith-based leaders because this is where many people go to find resources.