The excitement was palpable Friday morning in the Grand Ballroom of Denver's Four Seasons Hotel.
Crowds got together to share breakfast as part of a yearly celebration, hosted by CBS News Colorado Anchor Mekialaya White. In a packed room, there was no shortage of stories of inspiration.
Community Works CEO and President Robert Andrews had one of them.
"I grew up in Colorado Springs, in a tough and poor area. We were on food assistance, my brother as formerly incarcerated, my sister was in TANF, those things drive me and that's what wakes me up every day," said Andrews.
Community Works, a nonprofit across Colorado, does literally what its name says - puts the community to work, removing barriers in employment.
"We put people through training courses. Then, we follow them around for a year to make sure they keep that job," Andrews said. "For me, it's another way to pass on my family's legacy to make sure that everyone in Colorado has the same opportunities I have, and if they don't have them, provide those."
Keynote speaker Louis L Reed shared he's faced some similar struggles.
"I myself served 14 years in federal prison," said Reed.
Reed worked hard to turn his life around, becoming a social justice advocate; in his journey, he's even collaborated with rap artists like Jay-Z and Meek Mill through nonprofit Reform Alliance.
Now, he's partnering with our community, with a heart to serve the underserved.
"More than 70 million people in this country who have a criminal history never got a first chance. So, in my mind, this isn't about a second chance, this is about a fair chance," said Reed. "When you think of Jesus from a revolutionary perspective, he said 'Whatsoever you do to the least of these you've done to me.' I want to make sure those who are marginalized and disenfranchised, I'm doing something for and with them."
If you'd like to get job training, reach out to Community Works staff here.
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