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UPS Foundation donates $250,000 to Jacksonville ex-offender rehabilitation program

In World
June 08, 2024

Operation New Hope recently received a $250,000 investment from the UPS Foundation to expand vocational training opportunities for its Ready4Work clients and to develop a community leadership program.

The Jacksonville nonprofit’s programs help ease ex-offenders back into their families and communities. Ready4Work provides job training, job placement assistance, case management and mental health and other support services so they can join the workforce.

Operation New Hope and UPS representatives celebrate a $250,000 donation made to the Jacksonville nonprofit by the delivery service's foundation.

Operation New Hope and UPS representatives celebrate a $250,000 donation made to the Jacksonville nonprofit by the delivery service’s foundation.

Also, Operation New Hope is working with the University of North Florida’s Taylor School of Leadership on a pilot program to build leadership skills for clients and community members identified as emerging leaders, according to spokeswoman Amanda Mahan.

Patrick Smith, UPS’ regional community relations manager, presented the grant at a recent Ready4Work graduation ceremony. The UPS Foundation, the delivery service’s philanthropic arm, focuses on health and humanitarian relief, equity and economic empowerment, local engagement and planet protection, according to Operation New Hope.

Ready2Work graduate Leigh Ann Bohrer, center, gets congratulatory hugs from Mayor Donna Deegan, right, and an unidentified woman at a recent graduation ceremony for the Operation New Hope program for ex-offenders.

Ready2Work graduate Leigh Ann Bohrer, center, gets congratulatory hugs from Mayor Donna Deegan, right, and an unidentified woman at a recent graduation ceremony for the Operation New Hope program for ex-offenders.

One of the Ready2Work graduates was Leigh Ann Bohrer, who said she had years of drug use, arrests and incarceration behind her. She had been a woman “with her head held down in shame, full of drugs and no hope,” she said. After signing up for Operation New Hope, she said she had “a whole team of people who cared about me. … The best decision I ever made.”

Also on hand was Mayor Donna Deegan, who said the April event’s timing was fitting, during Second Chances Month.

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“This is a time when Americans recommit to building a criminal justice system that supports people returning to home from jail or prison to ensure they can successfully reconnect with the workforce, their families and our communities,” she said. “When we … lead with love, foster forgiveness and support rehabilitation, we are giving one another opportunities to learn from past mistakes.”

bcravey@jacksonville.com, (904) 359-4109

This article originally appeared on Florida Times-Union: Operation New Hope in Jacksonville and ex-offenders gets lift from UPS

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