For most of us, we spent Christmas Day 2007, enjoying family, friends and reminiscing about Christmas’s past. For one Maryland Re-Entry Partnership client, Ray Sharp, this was his first Christmas as a free man since 1969. You see, Ray has spent most of his life in and out of prison. This vacillating tour of our prison system began when he was 13 years old and did not stop until 2006.

Why is he free now? In 2006, he decided that he was tired of living in an 8 x 12 cell and wanted to become a productive contributing member of our community but he needed help. So he walked into the Maryland Re-Entry partnership office where he met his case manager. Ray and his case manager developed a comprehensive case plan that included substance abuse treatment, and the Christopher Place Employment Academy.

Did I mention that his Re-Entry case manager was his former cellmate? REP intentionally employs ex-offenders because; a key component to a client becoming successful is the connection between client and case manager. Now back to the story…

Ray spent Christmas 2007 at the beautiful Our Daily Bread Employment Center as a member of the Christopher Place Employment Academy. Today, Ray has graduated from the Maryland Re-Entry Partnership and can be seen riding his new scooter to Carrabba’s Italian Grill where he has been employed since May 2008. He will begin classes this fall at Baltimore City Community College where he will major in computer technology. When asked, what do you attribute your success to? Ray responded by saying “I owe it to the REP staff who believed in me and to the Our Daily Bread Employment Center.”