Change and Redemption After 10 Years Behind Bars

As Seattle's first social realtor, every sale with Chapman Homes helps a person in need at no additional cost to you. See how it works HERE.


Meet Dara. Her story is one of change and redemption—both for her and for the people in her life. It’s a story worth telling.


Dara has been involved with the criminal justice system since was 16 years old. When she was 22, she went to prison. Like most people, she didn’t thrive while there – she struggled, and regularly found herself in conflicts. She wanted a better life for herself once she got out. In May of 2019, Dara was released after ten years behind bars.


We’ll let her take it from here:


“I used to mess up a lot in prison. I used to go to the hole and to solitary. When I finally shaped up, I didn’t want to leave prison empty handed, with nothing to show for my time. So, I went into a trade apprenticeship program and did that for four months. Eventually, I got released on house arrest. I didn’t want to just sit at home so I started looking for jobs.


But I was nervous. I didn’t really think I would get a job, even though I had some training. I didn’t know where to start. I kind of knew what to do but I didn’t have the right resources to do it. I was starting from scratch. I didn’t have nothing at all – and it’s expensive to get started in construction. I didn’t have the boots, tool belt, hardhat.


And because of my record, I couldn’t get in anywhere. I couldn’t just go get a job at a Starbucks or something. I had to go somewhere where people like me were getting in.


I had heard about Weld from some friends. They told me how easy it was and so I thought I’d try it out. And it was – I felt comfortable there, and felt like I fit in.


I started working with Weld Works over the summer, and they helped me out. Two weeks into a job, one of the contractors Weld Works sent me to hired me on full-time. My life has changed. It’s good. I don’t have kids but I’m raising one – my girlfriend’s kid, he’s six.”


It Didn't End There


The best part of Dara’s story is that the positive impact didn’t end with her. Her fresh start expanded outwards to impact someone else.


Dara told us that she had spent her last six months of her sentence filled with anxiety over her younger brother. He was homeless, addicted, and couldn’t seem to find a way out. Her entire family was in anguish over it and didn’t know what to do or how to help him.


“So my little bro, he was heavily into drugs. He couldn’t get a break. He was one of those homeless guys being belligerent in the street. The last few years he’s been living in tents, not taking care of his kids.


When I got out I didn’t know what to do with him. So I hooked him up with Jay at Weld, and I asked him for help. By the next week, they were calling each other.


It’s incredible. Now he is sober, he’s clean, he’s working. When he didn’t have a backpack to put his stuff in, Jay got him a backpack. He personally mentored him. He didn’t give up on him.


For me, it was nice to know I had someone else to watch out for my bro while I was getting my life together. My mom wants to cook for Jay – she’s so grateful for what he did for my brother. It was a big break for the family. It was a lot for us to get him where he is now.


The last three years all I heard was how bad my brother was. He was living in tents and was fine with that. It’s pretty bad when you’re stealing shoes from Value Village. He’s only 23.”


This is the best part of our work. For every person that finds redemption, others benefit. A child, a brother, a mother, an employer, and maybe a whole city. When we leave no one behind, we create a world that’s better for each of us. Learn more about Weld.


Matthew Chapman works hard to make your home buying or selling experience enjoyable and gives part of every commission to help a person in need.

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