Second chances are seen every day at Hamilton Center. Whether we are working with a family involved with the Indiana Dept. of Child Services, helping someone who is incarcerated transition back into the community or providing intensive community based services to someone with a serious mental illness, second chances occur repeatedly.
In addition, I see employees lives changed regularly. Our organization has been working some time on increasing salaries not only to attract and retain highly qualified staff but also to improve the living conditions of some of our lower paid employees. We have seen lives changed. I frequently receive heartwarming messages from our staff who are appreciative of the opportunity to work at a strong corporation who cares. We plan to continue this initiative as corporate resources allow.
When I think of second chances, two programs come to mind. Firstly, our New Citizens program is approaching its 4th year. This unique program offers employment at Hamilton Center to people who have been incarcerated. It is my belief that when someone is released from jail or prison, they have paid their debt to society and deserve a second chance. Hamilton Center offers these “new citizens” a full year training program and permanent placement as a full time employee. My hope is that other companies will take notice and replicate this very worthwhile project which not only benefits the “new citizen”, but has longstanding benefits to the community at large.
Secondly, I think of the substance abuse programs that we are working to expand in 2018. It is recognized that substance abuse, especially opioids, is greatly impacting our communities. In collaboration with the Indiana Division of Mental Health and Addiction and our many strong community partners, we will be opening an opioid treatment program in Vigo County. In addition, we are working to expand outpatient and inpatient service options to those suffering from all types of addictions problems. Those that suffer from these debilitating illnesses need strong support and the ability to realize a second chance.
As many of you know, my past involves several second chances. I did not achieve that without a great deal of patience, love and support from those around me. I am grateful to our 550 employees state wide who provide that support to the clients we serve. We will continue to see second chances realized every day which compels us to continue to assist those in need in our community in creative ways.
Melvin L. Burks, CEO