PORT CHESTER, N.Y. -- Steve Ross has been in and out of prison for drug possession throughout his life but was able to turn things around three years ago when he found a job with a surgical instruments manufacturer.He was laid off several months ago when the company relocated out of state and now he is struggling to find another job."It's really hard when you got a record," said Ross, sitting inside the Summerfield United Methodist Church along with several other former inmates who are looking for work.Ross has already made many positive changes in his life but feels his past still hangs over him in the eyes of potential employers. Through the Port Chester-based organization Saving Our Society , he hopes to find another job.S.O.S. is focused on helping the former inmates reintegrate into their communities and helping them find gainful employment.
"People coming out of the prison system need assistance or they will just go back into the system," said found and director John Conyers, who conceived of the organization during the twenty years he served at Sing Sing for robbery and attempted murder.The organization features a mentorship program where former inmates are partnered with volunteers from the Port Chester community, the majority of whom are members of the Port Chester-Rye Brook Rotary Club .
Participants are encouraged to choose positive behavior and provided with job-finding skills. While finding employment is a focus, the program's weekly meetings are also a place where people can come for emotional support."When you from the streets, you can't open up and talk," said Ross. "But here, they get to know you, not just your record." What do you think about the service Saving Out Society is providing? Please share your thoughts.