The Will for Independence

Darrin could have been a lost cause. When he was young, he tried to navigate the world as a grown man and started running with the wrong crowd. He made a lot of bad choices and ended up being sentenced to prison for life. Even though he was in prison, Darrin knew his story wasn’t over—he was determined not to be a lost cause. He applied himself and learned important skills like carpentry, haircutting, cooking, and running the garment factory. After 30 years, he ended up getting a commendation and was released early, providing a second chance to live a life of meaning.

With 15 brothers and six sisters, he had a lot of family support, but he knew he’d have to do things for himself to succeed. He needed to find a way to be independent, which can be an extreme challenge for people with a criminal history. Despite his odds, Darrin remained positive. “I’ve been out over a year, and it’s been a blessing,” says Darrin.

“You have to want things in life to achieve things in life.”

Darrin heard about Goodwill’s Green Works from his parole officer and started working there in August of 2020. “When the job came up, I was skeptical, but the independent part of me used the opportunity as a steppingstone,” says Darrin. He set goals for himself and was determined to gain as much experience as he could to position himself for thriving job opportunities. Because of the job training and life coaching Goodwill invested in him, Darrin now works for DTE on the transformers at the power station.

“I had a lot of help,” says Darrin. “That’s the beautiful thing. Goodwill teaches you a lot, and they are there for you all along the way.” Darrin is well on his way to achieving the independence he fought so hard for and the dignity he deserves.