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Parolees need a 'Second Chance' and so does America

Non-profit organization has helped more than 10,000 San Diegans restart their lives

SAN DIEGO — Many people feel America needs a second chance to get things right. 

In this Zevely Zone, I went to Encanto to profile a man who dedicates his life to Second Chances, a nonprofit organization that helps provide the training and resources necessary to break the cycle of recidivism, poverty and addiction.

Credit: Second Chance

Mancy Thompson is one a program manger at Second Chance. In the 1980's, Mancy says he was living two lives. One life proudly serving his country and another filled with addiction.

Mancy was a young Marine over in Beirut, Lebanon. There was a bombing in the Marine barracks 241 comrades lost their lives. 

"I came home with some issues," said Mancy.  

Credit: Second Chance

Mancy got into a bar fight in 1987, and shot and killed a person. 

"I believe at that time the people were trying to kill me and I was just in a bad place period," said Mancy.  

Convicted of first degree murder, Mancy was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. 

"I spent a number of years being angry at myself, at God, at the country, at the prosecutor at the judge and everything," said Mancy.

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About 15 to 17 years into his prison sentence, Mancy started pointing the finger at himself and accepting the blame for his actions. 

"Things started to change. I was no longer angry," said Mancy.

Credit: KFMB TV

He vowed to himself that prison would not be the end of his story, but a new beginning so he knocked on the door at Second Chance.

"I met a fantastic person Alex, and he's a friend of mine," said Mancy suddenly choking back tears.

Credit: KFMB TV

For the past 26 years, the non-profit organization Second Chance has helped more than ten thousand people restart their lives. Alex Macias looked beyond Mancy's past and focused on his future. 

"What did I see? I seen an individual that was ready and individual who came home and needed the opportunity," said Alex.

Mancy sees the protests across the nation as opportunity as well. 

I asked him: Do you feel as if there are two Americas? One for white people and one for African Americans?

Credit: KFMB TV

He told me: "Yes I do. I think we need an open and honest dialogue where people are not afraid to express and say what they feel because it's only then do we get to remove the pain and hurt and begin the process of healing."

Credit: Second Chance

Second Chance works to address the full spectrum of needs including physical and mental health, childcare, legal services among others. Each participant receives a thorough needs assessment and help navigating the often complex systems necessary to access benefits to programs such as CalFresh, CalMedical, affordable housing and access to other non-profit programs.

The walls at Second Chance are lined with success stories and every time a graduate lands a job they ring a large bell. 

Mancy says if can answer the bell, America can too. 

"We are in a great place a hopeful place," said Mancy.

The non-profit organization Second Chance is in need of donations to fund their program.  

If you'd like to help out go to https://www.secondchanceprogram.org/.

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