Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Eight months ago, my photographer partner and I decided to embark on a short video documentary on St. Leonard's House, a residential program for ex-offenders in Chicago's West Haven neighborhood. After talking to the residents and staff for only a few short hours, I knew that this story was something special and that it would take more than a couple shoots to get across just how important this organization is to the future of our community.
This 54-year-old grassroots organization helps ex-offenders rebuild their lives according to individual needs--everyone who works and lives there is focused on a positive future. Whether visiting a group therapy session or job training program, I could feel the hope around me. No one is forced to be there-- St. Leonard's is a place of recovery, growth and honesty. Twenty percent of residents return to jail, compared to more than 50 percent nationwide. It is one small example of what an organization can do when it focuses on people rather than numbers.
St. Leonard's House truly changes lives... those of formerly-incarcerated individuals and everyone who is touched by the incredible work that they do.
If you have a high-speed Internet connection, you can view a high-quality version at: