NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Dismas House CEO Gerald Brown is a high-profile leader in Nashville's non-profit world.

​The former CEO for the Salvation Army says a supernatural calling brought him to Dismas four years ago.​

​"My own father was incarcerated, so I saw the perils incarceration and what that can do to a family," said Brown.​

​I recently paid a visit to the home helping former offenders transition back to society on 16th Avenue South near Belmont. ​

​It's where I met Adam on his first day out of prison.​

He was washing dishes in the kitchen alongside a jovial man named Charlie, who'd been there three months.​

​And then there was Mike Clark, now a full-time employee at the JW Marriot Hotel in downtown Nashville. ​

​"I was in prison for 12 years, 6 months, and 18 days of my life," said Clark.​

​The Memphis native and father of three showed me around the cozy home that's helping him never go back.​

​Every year 350 people apply for one of 8 beds.​

​They have family dinners every night.​

​"Monday through Thursday we meet here, eat here. It gets us back in the swing of things of being family-oriented.​

It's teaching me how to communicate with people and not being afraid."​

​Residents have house duties too. ​

​"Everybody prepares meals, takes turns washing dishes," Clark added.​

​Volunteers and new residents consistently cycle through.​

When a resident feels ready and has saved enough to afford his own place, it's time to move on.​

"Once we've been given all these things to re-enter us back into society, then it's time for someone else to have the opportunity to explore the options and benefits that are here," said Clark.​

That opportunity expands exponentially next year, when Dismas opens its 72-bed campus on 2424 Charlotte avenue. ​

Clark says there's no turning back.​

"This is a new beginning. It's what I make it. Everything I need is here. I have no reason to go backwards."​

For more information or to volunteer, call (615) 297-4511 or email volunteer@dismas.org.​

To help support the new campus at Dismas, click here.

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Anchor

Tracy Kornet is an award-winning anchor, host and writer. She joined News4 in September 2014.

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