How Second Chance is Changing Lives

“We call them clients. We call them returning citizens. We call them former offenders. But they’re people. And just like all of us, they have their hopes, aspirations, dreams, and they want to be reconciled with their families. They want to have a successful life. And they want a Second Chance,” said Second Chance Executive Director Ron Smith as he closed the Crime Commission’s April 20th, 2015 panel discussion.

The panel, which consisted of four current and past participants in the Second Chance program, were there to share their stories with the Crime Commission’s Board of Directors, made up of some of the most influential members of Kansas City’s business community. For those who missed our introductory blog, Second Chance is a resource program for people returning from prison, geared especially toward those at high risk to re-offend. The program’s primary goal is to assist with basic living needs like housing and employment, but as we learned from the examples in this panel, the Second Chance staff offers support in numerous other ways.

As Resource Specialist and moderator Addie pointed out, the program does what it can to aid in improving cognitive thinking skills. They had also assisted one of the panelists with obtaining identification, a necessity in any job search that many of us may take for granted. Perhaps most touching, though, was the story of a mother who recently regained custody of her son with the support of Second Chance, along with a few other area non-profits.

“I’m really happy to have him home, and just to wake him up to take him to school is the best feeling in the world,” she said.

Though each panelist’s background differed in areas like time served and offense committed, one major theme was present in all of their stories-the desire to take responsibility for their actions. One man had actually walked into the Second Chance office with a goal of working with Aim for Peace, a dream he has now achieved.

“I’ve spent so much of my life doing the wrong thing. I might as well commit the rest of it to doing the right thing,” he said.

The audience was obviously impressed, as one board member even told one of the men to get in touch about a possible job opening. The session made it clear that Second Chance truly is changing lives with their work. And that work doesn’t just stop when someone completes the program. As the mother who was mentioned earlier stated, “If I ever need the help, [Resource Specialist] Brittany is still here for me. I’ve graduated, but can still always go back, and [say], ‘Look, I’m struggling with this, and I don’t know how to get this help.’ And they’re still right there.”

For a Safer Kansas City: An Introduction to the Kansas City Metropolitan Crime Commission

Since 1949, the Kansas City Metropolitan Crime Commission has been dedicated to building a safer metropolitan area for the citizens of Kansas City. But the question of public safety is a complex one that requires more than one answer.

This is why we take a comprehensive approach to crime reduction, targeting different issues through the four programs we oversee: Greater Kansas City Crime Stoppers TIPS Hotline, Surviving Spouse and Family Endowment Fund (SAFE), Metropolitan Community Service Program (MCSP), and Second Chance. From supporting those who fight crime, to giving those who commit crime a chance for redemption, we look forward to giving you a glimpse of what we do every day in our upcoming blog posts.

Resource Specialist Addie leads Job Club for Second Chance clients

Resource Specialist Addie leads Job Club for Second Chance clients

First we would like to introduce you to Second Chance, our ex-offender re-entry program. Since 2010, the dedicated resource specialists of Second Chance have been helping find housing and employment for those returning from prison. Research indicates that access to these basic living needs is one of the most powerful tools in reducing incentives to commit new crimes. Of the participants who complete the program, only twenty percent return to prison, a much better recidivism rate than the national average. But the impact of this program is measured in more than statistics. While the city benefits from a lower crime rate, clients are given the chance to re-build and reconcile with their families and communities. As Crime Commission Chairperson Terry Kilroy puts it, “We are truly changing lives with our Second Chance efforts!”

In a few weeks, we’ll give you the opportunity to get to know some of our clients personally, as we post exclusive stories from an upcoming panel discussion for our board of directors. Keep an eye out for more on our other programs, as well as information on how you can contribute to the Crime Commission. For now, feel free to visit our website,, or check us out on Facebook.