Making the Most of an Opportunity

Life after prison can be a series of dead ends, along with the real threat of returning to prison until you find someone who truly believes in you.

Parlo experienced this firsthand when he was released from prison in 2005. He had gone through several jobs, but the opportunities never seemed to pan out. His luck changed when he was given an invitation to a job fair where he was introduced to Goodwill’s flagship re-entry program, Flip the Script. While participating, he learned about Goodwill’s welding program and immediately wanted to join. “I liked the welding program the best,” says Parlo. “Someone dropped out, and, by the grace of God, I got their spot.” That’s when Parlo met Julius “Juice” Norman, and his life changed.

“I had the best teacher. Juice got me right away,” says Parlo. “Juice had all the connections. When he tells people I’m dependable, they believe him.”

Parlo found genuine people who are truly committed to what they are doing at Goodwill. “There are lots of programs out there, but soon you’re on your own. Goodwill helps get you established,” says Parlo.  “These are people who will fight for you.”

For Parlo, he doesn’t just have a job—he has a career. Now he can take care of his children and can take his skills wherever he goes. He has pride in what he builds. Parlo explains that he doesn’t have a favorite construction because he learns something from every one of them. He’ll be driving with someone and point to a building he worked on and proudly say, “I built that.”

Detroit is his city. He was born and raised here and wants to leave it better than he found it. And we can’t wait to see what he builds next.