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Garrard’s Past Has No Bearing on His Potential

“When I was young, I went to jail. But that has no bearing on what’s taking place in my life right now. I’m working really hard to get my record expunged, so that way it’ll be as if it never happened.

For now, though, I need to get a job without going through an employer’s background check because they always turn me down when they see I’ve been to jail. The last company I contacted found out about my criminal record, and they needed so much documentation for me to simply apply.

I just wanted a chance – and finding Cara and Cleanslate gave me that chance. When I first joined the program, I didn’t understand why I needed to attend classes at Cara; I just needed a job. Once I got here, though, I understood that it’s the recipe for success.

If you’re lacking in a skill like communication, Cara will teach you and get you ready to meet with their employment partners.

So, in addition to doing great work for our communities through Cleanslate, I’m also gaining knowledge – and no one can take knowledge away from you – which means a lot to me.

I stay motivated by my friends and family. All of them are doing really well now, so they encourage me to be on top of my game. I wish I would have had this mindset and opportunity a long time ago, so that I could have changed my life earlier. But I’m so grateful for what I have now.

We all have challenges in our lives, and the only way to keep evolving is to overcome them. That’s what I like about Cleanslate: we’re all learning and moving forward together.”

Today, Garrard is taking all that he’s learned at Cleanslate and applying his knowledge and skills in his new role as an Environmental Services Technician at Advocate Aurora Health.

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