All writing is a form of prayer - John Keats

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

There ARE some good prisoner stories! Here's one.

There was something different about Tayrone. 

We see promising futures for many Michigan prisoners whom we serve, hoping for a second chance. But HFP CEO Matt Tjapkes saw a brighter spark in this new client of ours. 

Tayrone had been involved in an armed robbery at the age of 19. He knew he did wrong, and entered a plea of guilty. A judge gave him 8-20 years. But, a life of crime was not in the cards for Tayrone. No sirree. Once outta there, he was going to get a proper education and make something of himself. 

Matt caught that desire in his interaction with the man. Tayrone had set his sights on the University of Michigan. Yep, when he caught a parole, that’s where he wanted to be (Tayrone and a whole lot of other kids. Not everyone just gets accepted at a major university, especially the U of M!). 

It was a gamble, one that Matt felt was worth it. He contacted a former HFP board member who, in an earlier life, had been an instructor at the U of M Medical School. Matt simply put the two together, with a request to our guy that, if he, too, saw a strong possibility of success, perhaps he could help. 

And that’s exactly what happened. 

As those two men communicated, our retired prof caught that same promise for the future. His first step was to speak with a Parole Board rep, who agreed that if this young man managed to get accepted at the University of Michigan, a parole was almost assured. 

Strings were pulled and, miracle of miracles, Tayrone was accepted! The Parole Board, in turn, granted him a parole after serving his minimum. Now it was the parolee’s turn to prove himself. 

To the consternation of his supporters, Tayrone not only jumped in with both feet, taking on a full load at the U of M, but he got a job as well. There were bills to pay. Could he possibly survive? 

He did, and with flying colors! He graduated from the University of Michigan, launched a new career and went on his way. We never did hear back from him. But, that happens. After all, of those ten lepers Jesus healed, only one came back to say “thank you.” 

It’s a good story. Perfect for Holy Week. We’re proud to tell it!

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