A new program has come to the institution I am at called Defy Ventures. Defy is a program that has many functions, on the surface, but at the heart of Defy is second chances.

I applied to the program, along with many, many others, and I was one of 50 chosen. The application process was challenging, to say the least, but not bad challenging, good challenging. In fact, it reminded me of applying for a job, not just any job but the job that sits in the office up 30 floors, the life changing kind. I was nervous about not making it, carefully combing my mind for details in what I could have done differently. Its not to often a program like this comes along.

We will learn the language of business, so to speak. Interview skills, business plan writing, and business plan pitching. Plus there’s more. I remember growing up around low-middle class people, mainly lower class, poor people the language and etiquette of the business world was a mystery to me. In fact, I’ve never owned a suit.

Now I am a business degree holder (something I got from Edmonds Community College, proudly) and Defy Ventures is continuing my business education by providing an intensive curriculum that requires dedication and humility. We even have to write a business plan pitch it to a panel of real business owners and investors where we will get feedback. Something most of us have never seen outside of SharkTank.

My future looks brighter than ever and it is programs like Defy Ventures that instill self-worth, confidence, and actual post-release support in inmates. Oh, I should mention that released Defy graduates have a recidivism rate of just 5%. Compare that to the current 67% and you can see just how impactful those three little things can be.

A little love goes a long ways.

To learn more, please go to:

Ill keep you updated with my progress!

With Love
Jeff Jeffebelle Utnage