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Q: I am a 24-year-old man who joined the military immediately after high school. After serving three years, I made a foolish decision that caused me to receive a dishonorable discharge, a felony conviction, and an 18 month sentence in prison. I have been having difficulty finding a job and financial support for schooling and I am wondering if you can recommend a few courses of action for someone in my situation.
–C. Williams, Milwaukee
A: To help put your plan into action, contact a re-entry program for offenders such as Ready4Work (www.opera tionnewhope.com/ONH_redesign/train ing2.html) and the Welfare Peer Technical Assistance Network (http://peer ta.acf.hhs.gov). Also read Going Straight: An Ex-Convict/Psychologist Tells Why and How by Dr. Paul Karsten Fauteck (Writers Club Press; $23.95).
In addition, you have to do your homework if you want to be successful. “The library is a fabulous resource,” says Francine Ward, a life coach with Esteemable Acts in Mill Valley California. “The Foundation Center located in New York, has so much money available in the form of grants, loans, and scholarships for all different types of people for all circumstances,” she says. “Create a specific plan. Then you’ll know what you want and you can start planning for the obstacles.” Whatever you want to do, it can be accomplished with a course of action and commitment.