Voices of Reentry

Second Chance Month
April 2023

Family Engagement
Youth & Young Adults

Voices of Reentry


Voices of Reentry uplifts the stories of youth, family members, and practitioners impacted by youth reentry programs. Submissions were gathered by the Corrections and Community Engagement Technical Assistance Center (CCETAC) from the field and reviewed by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). In this edition, Voices of Reentry celebrates Rodmam.

Rodmam, a 20-year-old, leans against a tree with a “Goodwill Industries” sign in the backgroundAs a committed father, brother, and son, 20-year-old Rodmam was willing to do whatever was necessary to provide for himself and his family. Long-term unemployment, negative distractions, and layers of disadvantage pushed him to make survival choices that led to involvement with the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice. As a kid, he remembers not receiving many services and being caught in a cycle of “getting arrested, being released, and just doing the same thing”—until he was placed on an electronic monitor and began working with Ms. Yvonne, a persistent program manager. “She would drop everything and help me get to school. If it wasn’t for Ms. Yvonne, I’d probably be in the same lifestyle. She stuck with me and my family along the way.” Ms. Yvonne also convinced Rodmam to take advantage of available programs, including a career camp and his community’s reentry program: LifeLaunch at Goodwill Industries of Upstate/Midlands South Carolina.

Rodmam, a 20-year-old, shakes the hand of Mr. Terrance, a middle-aged person, while holding a forklift certification certificate. They are standing in front of a yellow forklift.In November 2022, Rodmam began working with LifeLaunch. He connected with Mr. Terrance, a LifeLaunch Central Navigator, who helped him identify and map a career pathway in manufacturing. LifeLaunch provided coaching, enrollment in classes at Greenville Technical College, job placement, and encouragement. Rodmam completed multiple training programs, including training in typing, NorthStar Digital Literacy, and digital skills. They also helped him prepare for a job interview. Ultimately, Rodmam earned his forklift and Occupational Safety and Health Administration certifications and secured a job with a roofing company. He reflected on the program’s impact as follows:

"If it wasn’t for LifeLaunch, I wouldn’t have been able to go to Greenville Tech, know that I was able to drive a forklift, or take classes. I didn’t think I could live that life."

"In many ways, it [LifeLaunch] helped me in my career. I was already doing commercial roofing, but the certifications helped me to get a raise, [get a] better position, and understand more things on the job site. It especially helped me to know how to be safe at work and take care of my home regarding safety hazards. I took what I learned home to make sure my daughter is safe."

When asked what he learned from his experience to help other youth, he advocated for individual conversations with youth about goals and interests to keep them from negative activities and help them pursue their dreams.

"They might not think about it [their goals] until someone suggests it and listens. It takes having someone pushing you, who sees something in you that you don’t see. For me, I didn’t think I could get my certifications, and Mr. Terrence kept saying “you got this.” He took my picture before I was done. So, I couldn’t quit because he already did that."

Rodmam gives credit to his parents, his daughter, his daughter’s mother, his family, and Ms. Yvonne for keeping him motivated. Next for Rodmam is completing his GED and continuing classes to add new certifications, such as a commercial driver’s license, to his résumé. He hopes to start his own moving business and be completely independent. He jokes, “I like to work . . . I know that some people might think that’s weird.” 

About LifeLaunch: LifeLaunch provides reentry career services for young adults ages 18–24. The LifeLaunch program is for those with past justice system involvement or who left high school without earning a diploma. Employment training opportunities are facilitated by a local community college and focus on in-demand jobs in local industries. In South Carolina, training focuses on warehouse and storage, manufacturing, and repair and maintenance. Participants may receive the following:

  • Career exploration activities
  • Case management
  • Assistance with linking participants to social services
  • Job-preparatory services, such as a registered apprenticeship, work-based learning, or work experience
  • Financial aid application assistance for postsecondary education
  • Tuition assistance, when financial aid is not available
  • Job placement services
  • Legal services, such as record expungement, diversion, modifying child care arrears, or obtaining a state driver’s license
  • Follow-up services

Learn more about the LifeLaunch Program in Greenville and Columbia, South Carolina