Organization helps convicted felons stay away from crime and land jobs

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(Source: KPHO/KTVK) (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

In the Valley, there are people working to make sure you have that you have a second chance, even if your last stop was prison.

Kevin Smith said he was in prison for three years after he was busted with drugs.

He said he had been dealing on and off since he was 16.

“Lured in by the fast money,” said Smith.

Once he was out of prison, he decided he wanted a life without crime.

“I want to leave something for my children to look up to me for. I'm no longer thinking about just myself," he said.

He said with his background, he had a hard time getting a job that could lead to a career.

“It kind of drains the hope from you," said Smith.

That's where AZ Common Ground stepped in.

“This program encourages, mentors and gives that hope back that even though I have this felony conviction, it's not who I am. It's what I've done," said Smith.

AZ Common Ground mentors convicted felons to determine what they need to do to be successful in society and land a job.

"It's not just a question of ‘Can I get a job?' The question is ‘Are you ready to work?' and ‘Do I have skill sets?'" said AZ Common Ground founder Frantz Beasley.

But most importantly, Beasley said it lets them know they are not alone,

“To create that family, so that they don't feel like they have to go into a corner and be by themselves,” said Beasley. “We want to be able to connect and provide those resources and let them know that there are other things outside of doing the wrong thing."

Smith said he's happy he went through the program.

He's now a property manager and said AZ Common Ground gave him the push he needed to keep his family proud.

“My integrity is the legacy that I want to leave behind," said Smith,

More than 100 people go through AZ Common Ground's program each year and even more drop in for advice.

For more information on the organization click here: http://azcommonground.org