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Kansas City organization offers second chance for ex-felons through life skills training

Posted at 6:03 AM, Oct 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-16 17:30:58-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Twelfth Street Heritage Development Corporation "is on a mission to improve the quality of life for residents of Kansas City’s most challenged urban neighborhoods" through several programs, one of which is its reentry program giving men and women who've been locked up a chance at employment. 

It's something Terry Childs said he's grateful for. 

"It's been good, you know what I mean? I went from living in a hotel to trying to buy my own property, so it's been real good," Childs said.  "I looked at is a situation — either I can be going back and forth in a recycling door, or I can break the cycle now."

At Twelfth Street Heritage, Childs is known as "Uncle Buck."

"Because that's what I always tell them — you got to get a buck in order to make it, and you make it your own buck," Childs said.

He's a part of the organization's reentry program, where he learns life training skills and has a job, something that was difficult to find coming out of prison.

"I did 10 years and it was kind of hard," Childs said. "I filled out a thousand applications and no one seemed to hire people that got a record so this program it definitely helped."

Since the start of the program, roughly 350 men and women have gotten jobs. 

"The quicker we learn how to solve some of these issues, and how to take care of them men and women that are coming out of the penal system, I think the better and more safer we're going to be," Twelfth Street Heritage President and CEO Dwayne Williams said.

Getting a job is among the first steps people take when they get out of prison, and Williams said Twelfth Street Heritage helps them gain the life skills they need to be successful in it.

"Getting used to clocking in, getting used to understanding that the fast money is no longer there, it's a process you go through," Williams said. "It's amazing to watch the transformation of some of these men and women."

It's a transformation Uncle Buck has seen since starting the program.

"It feels good on a payday, saying 'hey, this is my money.' I don't owe nobody, I don't have to worry about nobody taking it from me," Childs said. "I can pay my bills. I can do what I want to to make myself happy."

Childs said he wants to eventually run his own company next year. 

To find out more about Twelfth Street Heritage, click here.