From participant to supervisor, George “passes the baton” of success

Sep 13, 2022   |  By Emily Montgomery

George calls his full-time job at Center for Employment Opportunities “an answered prayer.”

“Not just the job, but to be able to work alongside others,” George says. “To be able to tell them, hey, I know what it takes. Of course, you have to put in the work, but you have people working with you that want to help you.”

George first heard about the Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) in March of 2021, when his parole officer recommended the organization to him just days after his release from incarceration. He signed up immediately and says now that he was “smitten from the start.”

“I was very grateful to be on the path to employment so quickly, and I was so eager to involve myself,” George says. “I wanted to avoid being idle, and to plant my feet on a pathway that would aid my success.”

What he didn’t know then was that in less than a year that pathway would lead him to permanent employment as a site supervisor with CEO in Colorado Springs, CO.

CEO staff approached George about the permanent position because they recognized his hard work, dedication, and compassion after only eight months as a participant. Now he says he is able to do for others what earlier staff members did for him.

George remembers one CEO staff member mentoring him when he was a participant and helping him develop his confidence. He says that rather than sharing tidy motivational lines to inspire him, she shared about her own experiences.

“It was like her life story was an inspiring quote,” George says. Now he gets to provide that same example to the participants he works with.

In fact, he says that rather than a site supervisor, he thinks of himself to be more of an “insight supervisor.”

“I'm just passing the baton for the participants to carry on with their race. I'm still running in the race, but we can make it to that finish line together,” George says. “It's just awesome to have this opportunity to share with others and to see them go on.”

When asked what CEO has done for him, George explained, “I’ve been given the opportunity to start anew. My goal is to not allow the misdeeds of my past to define me now.” His advice to new participants at CEO is to “give up on giving up.”

“Seize this opportunity to take a leap of faith by believing in yourself and that you’re worth second, third, and even fourth chances to start a new direction in your life,” he says.

“It’s good to recognize that CEO is made up of sincere people who believe in and want to help you with your vision and carry out their mission statement, which we're all about,” George says.

He adds, “I'm happy I can say “we!”