ARK Farms Helps Ex-Offenders Get On The Right Track After Prison

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) - Former felons in Shelby County are getting a second chance, thanks to ARK Farms. ARK Farms is a non-profit that helps empower people affected by trauma, hostility, or incarceration, by giving them the tools they need to function in society and be successful.

ARK Farms is currently providing welder training to a group of ex-cons. These ex-offenders tell Local 24, they're not only learning a trade, they're learning how to live again.

"Every time I come here I take something home from here,” says Jaylon Bell. “You know. This place really humbles me."

Jaylon Bell is busy putting his trade to the test. He's a week away from being a certified welder. At just 20-years-old, Bell already has a strike against him. He's an ex-felon, who was released from prison last summer.

"It’s a fresh start here,” says Bell. Here is ARK Farms in Arlington.

"We're a place where do-overs happen,” says Executive Director Abby Mauwong.

Mauwong says they work with ex-offenders like Bell to help them transition from prison to society. This group of four ex-felons is about to complete ARK's welder training program.

"To have a certification allows you the opportunity to go into that place and say ‘I've proven myself, I've been committed, and I've acquired the skills necessary to do the job well,’" says Mauwong.

Nearly 70% of ex-offenders who don't get a job within two years of their release end up back in jail. Nearly 95% who do find steady work are successful in becoming meaningful members of their community.

"It never feels better to know you did the right thing to get to where you trying to be,” says Bell. "I'm really just... thankful."

 


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