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Persevere teaches former inmates coding and web design in Memphis

Hope can be the algorithm behind a new future.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — When we make mistakes, second chances can mean everything. 

That is why a Memphis program called "Persevere" is taking second chances to another level.

At times, it seems as though a place such as a jail can be where dreams go to end. But a lot of times, it is actually where they begin. 

It takes a village. 

“Once you enter into the program, you are a part of the Persevere family,” said Broderick Webster, Persevere Mental Health Counselor.

That is where a change in perspective leads to opportunity. 

Roy Yates is on that path.

“I was in prison actually a few years ago. They’d come through. Ms. Brooks did. She offered me a position in the class and I figured, ‘Hey, why not take it.’ It’s been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life,” said Yates. 

That decision was to join Persevere, a program training justice-involved individuals in coding and web design. 

“Being able to provide individuals with a meaningful career actually gives them hope, because a lot of them have been marginalized so long to where they need some hope,” said Webster. 

Hope can be the algorithm behind a new future.

“We’ll start teaching you computer coding where we’ll have a specialist that will help you find employment where you can continue to work. It’ll be that bridge that you need,” said Webster.

They are partnering with companies such as Indeed and getting at-risk youth involved. 

Allen Farmer is the Youth Program Coordinator. He sees the change in participants.

“I notice vulnerability inside of their mindset, whether it’s them being more open to talk about mindfulness or certain adversities that they’re going through,” said Farmer. “Teaching valuable skills for sustainable wealth, sustainable success for people who may not have certain education backgrounds or people who may be overcoming a certain obstacle.”

Those obstacles are now in Yates' rear view.

“I went through the initial program in the prison and was learning JAVA and HTML and CSS. We got certified in them,” said Yates. “It’s great. It’s the first time in my life that I’ve had a career and not just a job. I’m not just struggling every day for a paycheck.”

What’s your definition of persevere?

“Grind. Grit. Hustle. Never giving up,” said Webster.

“Not quitting when you’re tired. Quitting when you’re done,” said Yates. 

Together, they are cracking the code to what it means to move forward.

Learn more about the program HERE.