Bridgeport community center deterring recidivism, promoting better lives

HomeBridge Ventures in Bridgeport believes in healing, hiring and hope. Its grand opening is coming up on Wednesday, but the work has already begun.

Mark Sudol

Nov 10, 2022, 10:30 PM

Updated 622 days ago

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A community center in Bridgeport is giving previously incarcerated men and women a second chance at life.
HomeBridge Ventures in Bridgeport believes in healing, hiring and hope. Its grand opening is coming up on Wednesday, but the work has already begun.
Lamar McElveen, from New Haven, was in prison for seven years. Sean Toliver from Stamford says for him the "first time was 10 and the second time was 8."
The men say that time in jail gave them time to think.
"I just woke up. I knew I needed better," said McElveen.
"Everything's different now. Everything's on the up and up," said Toliver.
McElveen and Toliver met David Stubbs at HomeBridge Ventures, who has been volunteering with prison ministries for almost a decade.
"Our job here is to really love the people that come to us until they can love themselves and be ready to redirect their lives into ways that are healthy for them," said Stubbs.
Stubbs says McElveen and Toliver are just two of his success stories.
"Until someone is healed and whole, the other things don't happen," said Stubbs.
Every Friday, the men and others like them work in group therapy to try and break down the walls that have hindered their progress.
"You got to just take a step, man, for better, man, for your family, for yourself," said McElveen.
Now thanks to the programs at HomeBridge, McElveen and Toliver are working full time recycling wood and metal from thousands of old mattresses.
"Basically it's all been a godsend to me. Because of them I believe that we can change the recidivism in this state. Because a lot of people need help, but they just don't know it," said Toliver.
These men are at the same time learning valuable skills that they can eventually take with them to other jobs. They now believe they can have a life after prison.
"It's not the end of the world. There's people out here and organizations that will help you if you're willing to put the effort into it," said Toliver.
"It's never over man. You just got to branch out and network," said McElveen.
HomeBridge Ventures' grand opening is Wednesday. It's already talking about expanding next year and opening up electronic recycling.


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