KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Kansas City carpenter with a criminal past is on a new path to success in his personal and professional life after completing courses through the nonprofit Connections to Success.
David Miller turned from a life of crime to become a family man and productive, working citizen. Now, he's is helping others find the same path to success.
Connections to Success is a one-stop shop for people in prison reentering society, people in legal trouble for failing to pay child support, and people referred to the program by Clay County Courts.
"It's not just the 'get a job' class. It's where we teach the life skills, where we teach job readiness, where we teach job-keeping skills,” said Jennifer Johnson, a trainer at Connections to Success.
Connections to Success provides participants with access to technology, social services, life skills training, free clothing, job readiness coaches and personal transformation coaches.
Miller found out about the classes when he was an inmate at Kansas City Reentry Center. He was serving time for second-degree murder.
“Just a wrong crowd, wrong place, kind of a poor way to grow up,” Miller said.
He got into trouble with the law when he was a teenager.
"In 2009 I got involved with some guys and we all decided to make some decisions that didn't work out too well for us. I ended up in prison,” Miller said.
Halfway through his 20-year sentence, Miller decided it was time to change and prepare for life after prison. So, he signed up for a Connections to Success class.
"I just loved what they had to offer. They talked about hope, resources and a plan; and I needed all of that, and I wanted it and I was hungry for it and so I took full advantage of it,” Miller said.
Miller has been out or prison for two years. He has a fiancé, Keila, and a blended family of four children. He said they are his purpose and his motivation.
"You can't really see the smile; but I love it,” David
Now Miller is a board member at Connections to Success, sharing his story to inspire hope in people who want a better life.
"It's not too late. If you guys are in a cell, by chance, or in the county, or maybe you're fighting charges, or just sitting at home just down and out — there's hope out there. There's resources, there's a plan,“ Miller said.
Miller got a job as an apprentice carpenter in Kansas City and was promoted to journeyman carpenter. He said is proud of being able to provide for himself and his family.
He said he hopes more employers will decide to offer people with a criminal or troubled past a second chance in life.