By MEKIALAYA WHITE
DENVER (KCNC) — The excitement was palpable Friday morning in the grand ballroom of the Four Seasons Hotel in Denver.
Crowds gathered to share breakfast as part of an annual celebration, hosted by CBS News Colorado Anchor Mekialaya White. In a full house, there was no shortage of stories of inspiration.
Community Works CEO and President Robert Andrews had one.
“I grew up in Colorado Springs, in a tough, poor neighborhood. We were on food assistance, my brother was once incarcerated, my sister was on TANF, those things keep me going and that’s what wakes me up every day,” Andrews said.
Community Works, a nonprofit organization across Colorado, literally does what its name suggests – puts the community to work, removing barriers to employment.
“We put people in training courses. Then we follow them for a year to make sure they keep that job,” Andrews said. “For me, it’s another way to carry on my family’s legacy to make sure everyone in Colorado has the same opportunities I have, and if they don’t have them, provide them.”
Keynote speaker Louis L Reed shared that he faced similar difficulties.
“I served 14 years in federal prison myself,” Reed said.
Reed worked hard to turn his life around, becoming an advocate for social justice; in his journey, he’s even collaborated with rap artists like Jay-Z and Meek Mill through the nonprofit Reform Alliance.
Now he partners with our community, with a heart to serve the underserved.
“More than 70 million people in this country with criminal histories have never had a first chance. So in my mind this is not a second chance, this is a fair chance,” Reed said. “When you think of Jesus from a revolutionary point of view, he said ‘Whatever you do to the least of these, you have done to me.’ I want to make sure that those who are marginalized and disenfranchised, I do something for them and with them.
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