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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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