In recognition & Praise
Citadel Leadership Work Day
Citadel cadets have a leadership workday every year and go into the community to serve along side organizations that help to improve our neighborhoods.
The Cadets came to our facilities to help move furniture, clean the trash and debris from our street, pressure wash our homes and rake and clean one of our open lots that we recently bulldozed and cleared at 1954 Clements Avenue.
Our prayer for today: We ask for God’s leadership and strength helping us to continue to serve our communities together in improving the long forgotten neighborhoods that are now our home. God help us to stay focused on this partnership and continue to transform the lives of our men as they learn to give back to others in their FreshStart lives.
With gratitude for your support,
Tim Terry, Founder
Having fun God's way
We often take for granted what we usually do to have fun after a long hard week at work. At FreshStart, we've learned that after a man is released from prison and is transitioning to his new life, that is when temptation can come in. There is always that tendency to go back to the only way he remembers having fun from his past - using drugs and alcohol.
So as an alternative to escape those tendencies, one Sunday after Church we decided to go bowling. That lead us to decide to start a Fall League. We believe this will give our men a chance to learn new healthy ways to have fun.
Together we can make life better for our men in transitioning to a FreshStart life. We sincerely appreciate your prayers and support.
Meet FSV Graduate Otis Frazier
“I thought, “If I want to improve my life, I better start acting like Jesus.”
Sentenced to life in prison, Otis praises God every day that he was released after 22 years. He served FreshStart as transportation coordinator, and drove other residents to employment, medical appointments and other needs.
Otis is regarded as a gentle and kind soul who is greatly loved by everyone at FreshStart. All his immediate family are deceased, so Otis views the people at FreshStart as his family. He is also a successful cancer survivor.
Upon release from prison, ex-offenders like Otis have nothing but the clothes on their backs and a bus ticket. FreshStart Visions makes sure all of their basic needs are quickly met so that every man is ready to enter the workforce as soon as possible.
Your financial contributions or volunteer time can help ex-offenders like Otis successfully return back to society and become productive, law-abiding, tax-paying citizens.
Meet FSV Graduate Walt Pantovich
Walt's journey began many years ago when he was working on Bishop Alex Dickson's home. One day Walt heard the Bishop cry out for help and Walt quickly ran to his aid.The Bishop was having a heart attack and Walt immediately called 911. Following Bishop Dickson’s recovery he and Walt became close friends. The Bishop was always trying to witness to Walt, but at that time Walt was not open to the message. Shortly thereafter, Walt found himself in legal trouble and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
The Bishop continued to communicate with Walt and visit him regularly in prison. Eventually, Bishop Dickson led Walt to the Lord. Walt then enrolled in Columbia International University, where he earned an Associate’s Degree in theology and then went on to serve in different prisons by assisting the Chaplains with daily duties and being a witness on the prison yards.
After being released from incarceration and coming to FreshStart Visions for his transition, Walt became a role model for all the other men working on reentry. He enrolled in a FreshStart program called STOR (Skilled Trade Opportunities in Reentry) and successfully completed classes to obtain his Commercial Drivers License (DSL) certification.
Walt remains in close contact with Bishop Dickson and is pursuing ordination as a missionary with plans to serve in Liberia. Stories like Walt’s fill our hearts with appreciation and thanks for all our supporters who assist us in changing lives.
Meet Bryan ' Tiny' Gibson
While serving several years in prison in South Carolina and attending FreshStart Visions Men In Transition program Tiny realized FSV was where he needed to be upon release. Once he was paroled in SC Tiny knew he had some past crimes from North Carolina that needed to be resolved before he could join FSV. After Tiny resolved the NC issues he joined FSV and began his transition to a new life working to achieve the 4 Keys to success within the FSV outside transitional program.
Within a week of joining FSV Tiny started losing his eyesight. Another setback. The FSV Program Director quickly took him to the doctor where it was determined that Tiny incurred a stroke that was causing his eyesight to fail. After release from the hospital he was required to wear a heart monitor for 30 days and that prevented him from starting his job. The FSV Program Director quickly stepped in again and arranged for Tiny to attend a SC vocational rehab WorkKeys program. After graduating and removal of his heart monitor he began employment for a Charleston steel company.
Then there was another roadblock. Tiny was advised of a court date for old outstanding charges he thought had been resolved and that could total another 18 years in prison. The FSV Program Director again quickly stepped in and wrote letters of recommendation to the lawyers and judge that assisted in reducing these charges to three years probation.
Tiny quickly proved to be a hard worker and was assigned team leader responsibilities. He has learned how to wisely manage his money along with developing a savings program. With this initial success and growing Christian faith, Tiny is now working to restore broken family relations. As a man of determination and focus, Tiny has also started a handy man business.
His current plans are to remain in Charleston and become a mentor for other men facing reentry challenges at FreshStart. Tiny loves to tell everyone he meets that, “I praise God every day that I’ve been given a FreshStart”.
Meet FSV Graduate Shane KNIGHT
Shane is one of our graduates who needed a safe place to get his life back on track so he could work on getting his family back. He started first by committing to our one-year transitional program. Then he got his first job working with Hay Tire to prove he was serious about changing his life and restoring relationships with his family.
After many months of staying committed, his wife began to believe he was trying to change and he was demonstrating that he was on the road to becoming a different man. His sons began to get excited and started coming to visit him. Shane stayed focused on FSV’s "5 Keys to success" and over time he was able to get a new home and go back to his family. Today he is proud to say he has become a law abiding, tax paying father and husband with a great future ahead of him.