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Overcoming Barriers to Success

by Berks Connections/Pretrial Services

Nov 20, 2018
Nathaniel's Story

BCPS is committed to helping clients remove barriers that stand in the way of their progress and ultimate success. Obtaining a valid ID is vital to gaining sustainable employment. While this may seem like a simple matter, at times it requires moving mountains and calling in help!

Nathaniel’s story clearly shows the impact that our Life Improvement Business is having  on those we serve and confirms the value of teamwork in our reentry services.

Nathaniel became a client of BCPS in September of 2017 after serving time in a state correctional facility. He informed his caseworker that he did not have a valid ID and had been trying to get it for 22 years! Lack of proper identification had prevented him from obtaining full-time employment. His lack of stable employment also led him to be unable to obtain stable housing, often resulting in periods of homelessness.

One barrier Nathaniel encountered in getting his ID was that he did not have his birth certificate. After weeks of trying to help him secure it, we were notified that there was no birth certificate registered in his name. Nathaniel had been adopted as a young child and the birth certificate may have never been transferred over to his adoptive parents or may not have been filed by his birth parents.

When we encountered this massive road block, we reached out to Jeffrey Abramowitz, JD, Executive Director of Reentry Services at JEVS Human Services, who suggested that we make an appeal to the Secretary of State of Pennsylvania and reach out to the Secretary of Transportation. The appeal would explain how Nathaniel’s lack of proper identification was a barrier to finding employment. Mr. Abramowitz enlisted the help of Matthew Whitaker, a Field Operations Manager for PennDOT. The appeal worked!

In late August, two months after he maxed out his parole, Nathaniel was elated to finally obtain his ID from PennDOT…this meant that he was going to be able to keep his job! Nathaniel now works full time and has been able to rent a room.

“BCPS really helped me by reaching out to other resources to get my ID after not having one for 22 years.”

BCPS would like to thank two of our awesome partners in reentry Jeffrey Abramowitz, JD, and Matthew Whitaker. Without their insight, compassion, and diligence, it is likely that Nathaniel would be unemployed and homeless. Thank you!

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