For three decades, Gilbert viewed the world through a small window. From his cell, he could see a desert field, a fence, and a car patrolling the surrounding area. He also envisioned what life would be like while not incarcerated… a colorful life that involved time with loved ones and embracing meaningful employment. He shares, “It started off as a dream…but that spark turned into a fire.”

Shortly after his release, Gilbert was referred to Chrysalis. While employed in a transitional job within a division of our employment social enterprise, Chrysalis Roads, Gilbert secured his driver license for the first time. When the COVID-19 pandemic stalled his progress, Gilbert turned back to Chrysalis and other service providers to continue forward.

At Chrysalis, Gilbert received one-on-one support from his Employment Specialist, job-readiness coaching, and guidance on how to prepare for and dress professionally for interviews. Later, while providing COVID testing services, Gilbert recognized his passion for serving others.

Thanks to a referral from his Chrysalis Employment Specialist, Gilbert was connected to the training and support he needed to pursue his dream of becoming a substance use counselor. For nearly a year, he has been conducting group sessions, emphasizing the importance of challenging societal stereotypes, enabling emotional growth, and envisioning success.

No longer viewing a barren field through a small window, Gilbert sees the potential in himself and in those with whom he surrounds himself. “This is what it’s all about. Me overcoming everything that was stacked up against me.”

Outside of work, Gilbert enjoys spending time with his family and those he loves. His journey is a testament to what everyone in our community can accomplish when their resilience and determination are met with adequate and compassionate resources and support. Chrysalis is honored to be there for Gilbert and every individual who turns to us each day.