PITTSFIELD, M.A. (NEWS10) — A local organization is trying to help the formerly incarcerated get access to services that will help them continue their lives and not get back into trouble.
Second chances. That’s the opportunity a Pittsfield organization is trying to grant former convicts like Wolf Valentin. He’s spent two decades of his half century on earth in prison.
Hailing from a tough background, Wolf took a turn down the wrong path in life, but he’s hoping for that second chance.
“You know my way hasn’t worked in 52 years so I decided to take a suggestion” said Wolf.
That suggestion was to link with the Second Street, Second Chances program. Located on Second Street, inside the Berkshire County Sheriff’s office, on the Second floor, the independent organization is directed by Jason Cuyler. The director says this organization has helped over 500 former inmates, superseding their original goal of 150.
“It means a lot for me to see clients like Mr. Wolf that are doing positive things in the community” said Cuyler.
Wolf says this program has had a positive impact, helping him with everything from job applications, to finding housing and other resources. For Wolf, it hasn’t been an easy road, having over 50 job applications rejected.
“They loved my interview. They loved everything. They love the way I respond. You know my motivation, things like that as soon as they go into my quarry, they don’t call or they told me that they can’t hire me” the former inmate said.
Wolf’s been working with a mentor and he’s got a job at UPS now. Valentin acknowledges people like him will have to prove their merit to potential employers. He says enrolling in programs like 2nd street can be just that.
“It difficult to go around saying yeah I’m changed and you have done nothing with that change” the native Chicagoan said.
What’s next for Wolf, he hopes to be a mentor.
“I believe… I can… I have a message to give” said the 2nd Street client.
Wolf says he would like to continue his education.
As for Cuyler, He talks about a tale of two Berkshires. One with amazing arts and culture, the other with people who cannot access them. The director says the next step for his program is bridging that gap.