Safer Streets, Brighter Futures

Unlock⁠i⁠ng Second Chances a⁠t⁠ Fresh S⁠t⁠ar⁠t⁠ Expo

By: Paul Parisi / March 28, 2024

Paul Parisi

Arizona Grassroots Director

Safer Streets, Brighter Futures

March 28, 2024

Recently, the nonprofit organization Fresh Start International hosted a successful reentry event in Tucson Arizona. Fresh Start was founded by Tucson pastor Dr. Da’Mond Holt who had a vision that by providing a variety of resources to the formally incarcerated at a one-stop-shop, they could get a “fresh start” in life and reintegrate into society as productive citizens.

Programs like these are incredibly important because studies show that unemployment for released prisoners often hovers at 27%. The lack of employment not only hinders a prisoner’s ability to provide for themselves and their families, but also contributes to rising crime within a community.

Launching its first Fresh Start Expo in October of 2021, Fresh Start has hosted several well attended events where hundreds of former inmates come to a one-stop-shop to get free legal services and in many cases, have their rights restored. 

In a typical Fresh Start Expo, judges set up courts to resolve warrants for misdemeanors, while employers hire formerly incarcerated people on the spot, while other organizations help former inmates find housing and even give free haircuts to those who need it. 

These steps are crucial so former inmates can reenter society in a peaceful and productive manner.

Our America has attended several Fresh Start Expo’s with one notable Hometown Heroes and Fresh Start Director of Outreach and Resources  – Tom Cortese. 

Tom was a drug addict who turned to crime and almost died in a gunfight. He also spent nearly 30 years in prison. While behind bars, he gave his life to Jesus and began a long journey of restoration. Now he does all he can as a living example that former inmates like him can get the help to actually get a fresh start as productive citizens.

 As a free man, Tom goes back into prisons as a motivational speaker, sharing his story of redemption and transformation.

After serving their sentence to society, former inmates often have a tough time staying out of crime. These Americans deserve another chance. This is why Our America works alongside Fresh Start and fights for those who want to turn their lives around.