Finding a job is tough for anyone nowadays.
Add "ex-offender" to the resume, and snagging a decent salary can be a nearly insurmountable task.
Many people don't realize it, but there are resources available that can help an ex-felon resist the temptation to return to a life of crime, said Jonathan Queen, a local motivational speaker, counselor and youth pastor.
For example, in York City, at least one church offers a support group for ex-offenders, Queen said.
Event: Sharing information about that and other resources is the goal of a symposium scheduled for 6 to 9 p.m. Friday at the Shiloh Baptist Church, 740 W. Locust St.
The symposium is a new collaborative effort of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) and the Philadelphia-based National Exhoodus Council, a group of ex-offenders who help other people transition from behind bars to a positive life outside.
Local speakers include York NAACP President Sandra Thompson and Anthony Sease, a pastor at New Covenant Community Church and president of the Black Ministers Association. New Covenant offers the ex-offender support group.
Other speakers include the chairman of the Pennsylvania State Parole Board, the chief of the Salisbury, Md., police department and a former Philadelphia police commissioner.
York City Mayor Kim Bracey and Police Chief Wes Kahley will also be there, according to a news release.
The event is open to the
Community: "Anyone who's concerned with seeing the community become a community again should want to be there," Queen said.
That goes especially for ex-offenders who "need to be there so that they can recognize their potential," Queen said.
"They need to see that there's an expectation now," he said.
That expectation, Queen said, is to start working with the community and stop working against law enforcement.
Likewise, some police officers need to ease up on the idea that criminals will always remain criminals, Queen said.
"The police have to start recognizing that although there are many failures ... there are also many success stories," he said.
Queen would know. Convicted of drug charges, he spent 10 years in prison.
"My passion is just trying to help people stay off the path that I was on," he said.