I believe in second chances.

Union Project gave Micah Carter a reason to believe in second chances.

After selling drugs and spending time in prison at a young age, Micah came to Union Project for the opportunity to change his life. Through UP’s mission of strengthening the community one experience at a time, Micah received the support to learn and grow in a safe, welcoming space, working to transform a building while transforming his life.

I believe in second chances.

Micah was hired at Union Project as part of the Glass Action program in 2007. Through this program, Union Project offered paid apprenticeships to nonviolent offenders in the community while providing them with a practical and dynamic skill set to earn a living wage. Micah helped restore the building’s 30 foot neo-classical stained glass windows in the Great Hall, which were badly broken from vandalism in 2003. Since the former church building was acquired in 2001, Union Project has worked with community members to restore it, including matching over 50,000 volunteer hours with nearly $2 million worth of improvements.

Micah’s time at Union Project was not limited to repairing broken glass. UP provided a scope of knowledge that he could take with him on further endeavors. Under close guidance and supervision, Micah learned a variety of skills that he would need in the workforce. Union Project provided a structure where expectations, deadlines, and proper work habits were enforced. He acquired customer service and business experience by traveling to residences and local churches to offer cost estimates and perform additional glass restoration services. The UP staff and community treated Micah with respect and offered their support in his journey. “Union Project holds a special place in my heart. It was a different caliber of people; everyone was genuinely nice and I felt like a part of the UP family.”

After completing his work at Union Project, Micah moved to California for a fresh start. Eager to finish his undergraduate studies and continue his academic journey, Micah plans on attending law school in 2014 and ultimately aspires to serve as a public defender to help others better understand the law. He greatly attributes his progress to Union Project, realizing that his time spent putting stained glass windows back together was time spent putting his life back together. Micah now hopes to share his story to help and inspire others.

“Union Project played a big part in me changing my life. I believe in second chances, and that’s why it is important for me to speak with people like myself in jail. I want to tell them, ‘Hey man, I made it.’ I want to be the guy that says, ‘You can make it, because I made it, and you don’t have to go back.’”

 

Story written by Kerry Donnelly