Fighting Set Backs and Getting Ahead

DeAndre M. enrolled in Urban League of Greater Louisiana’s Urban Reentry Jobs Program at the age of 41 while incarcerated at Elayn Hunt Correctional Facility. He was released from prison after serving 17 years for robbery. This arrest and conviction was the only time DeAndre encountered problems with the law. At the age of five, his mother died and was reared by his grandparents. DeAndre lost interest in high school and dropped out, because he did not feel that school was challenging and he became bored. He fathered two children before he entered the criminal justice system.Since DeAndre’s enrollment in the program, he passed his high school equivalency exam and obtained a forklift certification. 

While incarcerated, DeAndre enrolled in a sign language course and studied in the area of law as well. Since his release, he has been able to utilize his sign language skills at his church and his knowledge of law with Baker Law Firm. Soon after graduating from the program, DeAndre secured full time employment at Ace Hotel New Orleans as a full time Safety Agent at a pay rate of $14.00/hour. DeAndre’s job requires that he detect signs of intrusion and ensure security of doors, answer alarms and investigate disturbances, monitor and authorize entrance and departure of employees, visitors, and other persons to guard against theft and maintain security of premises, write reports of daily activities and irregularities, such as equipment or property damage, theft, presence of unauthorized persons, or unusual occurrences and warn persons of rule infractions or violations, and apprehend or evict violators from premises. He has had the opportunity to provide personal assistance to professional athletes and singers. DeAndre plans to enroll in college and obtain his degree in Business. DeAndre also enjoys reading, writing, baking, and graphic design. DeAndre says, “I have never had a problem with accomplishing my goals and never just want the minimum of anything. My goal is to enroll in college and obtain my degree, start looking at investments to purchase homes and maintain my relationship with my son and daughter. It was a great feeling to be able to do the things I know I should have years ago.” 

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