When Steven was little, he had to grow up fast. He took care of his younger brother and sister while his mother, a single parent, was working and going to school. When he was older, he started rebelling. Steven graduated from high school but, after only a couple of semesters in college, he dropped out. Disinterested in higher education and without real direction, Steven found himself at a crossroad. In need of money, he started selling drugs. After multiple arrests, Steven’s luck had run out and he was sentenced to hard time at Graterford Prison. He came home and stayed out of trouble for almost 10 years until he was picked up with a friend who was selling drugs.
A Four-Legged Rescuer
While serving time, Steven enrolled in New Leash on Life – USA, a training program run in partnership with JEVS Human Services behind the walls of the county jail in Philadelphia. Steven socialized, trained and rehabilitated a rescue dog named Pavlov for eventual adoption. Through this, Steven worked on his own job readiness skills, improved time management skills, conflict resolution, and set goals for himself—for what he says was the first time in his life.
A New Purpose
When released, JEVS placed him in an internship at Animal Care and Control Team of Philadelphia (ACCT), where he was quickly hired into a full-time, paid position. Steven’s new calling and new skills made him an excellent candidate for a promotion to Animal Control Officer, and with weekly JEVS career coaching sessions, Steven landed the promotion. Steven has been working at his dream job for almost five years, with a stable income and the purpose he was seeking.
“We rescued dogs, and the dogs rescued us. I know I got rescued, and I’m not afraid to say it.”