speaker’s bureau

Community Success Initiative advocates for those who have been justice-involved and has individuals who can speak to the community about their experiences with the justice system, and show how those currently and formerly in prison are worth a SECOND CHANCE.

  • Dennis Gaddy graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill and the Campbell University School of Law and built a 20 year career in sales. However, due to some poor decisions and choices, he found himself in the NC Department of Corrections for five years and eight months. With strong support networks of family and friends, Dennis took the valuable and positive insights from the past and brought to fruition the Community Success Initiative (CSI) in 2004.

    READ MORE…

  • Life Coach William D. Burton, a native of Los Angeles, California, and was justice involved in his youth and used this experience to the change lives of literally hundreds of people over the course of his career. He served on UNC-CH’s summer faculty for the Governor’s Academy for Prevention Professionals for three years; was chosen to present a seminar of Creative Thinking at Elon College for the NC State Teaching Fellows Association; and taught Life Coaching classes for Federal and State correctional institutions for more than 30 years. Mr. Burton has been an integral part of the CSI’s family for more than 10 years providing life coaching and classroom curriculum.   

    READ MORE…

  • Wonis spent most of his childhood and impressionable years in Brooklyn, New York. His outgoing nature and the desire to have the “finer” things in life were instrumental in his decision to earn some “fast” money as a drug dealer.

    READ MORE…

  • Along with his notable book, “Campaign 4 Change Testimonials”, Otis Lyons composed a new curriculum, “Street Life Education” on DVD. His prevention and intervention methods have been used throughout the state educating audiences on gang awareness.

    READ MORE…

  • Rev. Reggie Longcrier has been the Chaplain of Catawba Correctional Center in Newton, N.C. For 22 years, and it’s hard to believe that one of the most respected community leaders in this area spent 25 years going in and out of prison while addicted to heroin and cocaine. In “From Disgrace to Dignity” his journey begins on the street corners of Atlantic City, N.J. where he began his life of crime as a young boy with purse snatching, shoplifting, and breaking and entering. He began serving time in reformatories at age eleven and graduated as an adult to some of the roughest prisons in the country including Rahway and Rikers Island.

    READ MORE…

  • At 24, Lynn Burke was struggling to feed her four children. She had moved to North Carolina to be closer to her mother, but her mother died less than a year after her arrival. Desperate, she reached out to her husband’s family in Tennessee, hoping that a sister-in-law would come to Raleigh and help. Instead, Burke said, that phone call brought her husband and his drug problems back into her life. Burke was depressed. She began writing bad checks and stealing. Within six months she was arrested, and soon she was headed to prison, sentenced to 10 years for eight felony counts of false pretense and writing bad checks. At the time, her children were 5, 4 (twins) and 3, and she was a student at N.C. State University. It was 1987.

    READ MORE…

  • At the age of 16 Corey Purdie was convicted as an adult and placed in the custody of to the NC Department of Corrections. With the help of prison ministry volunteers, Corey committed his life to Christ while in prison. After serving 8 years, Purdie was released. Following his release, Purdie developed a friendship with Jeff Smith, a local pastor who mentored him as a father figure. Smith instilled hope in Purdie through Biblical text like Jeremiah 29:11 and reminding Purdie that he still had a purpose beyond his past.

    READ MORE…

  • Janet Taylor had been to jail for the umpteenth time. If the cops hadn’t arrested her when they did, she’s certain she’d be dead because her body was almost completely dehydrated, malnourished, and emaciated. She was in jail for the same old thing: prostitution. It all began with her recreational use of cocaine, the monster from the pit of hell. She started out using it only at parties with “special” friends. However, soon it turned out she liked cocaine more than life itself because of the feeling of euphoria it provided. Soon she was using it secretly and by the time she knew what hit her, she had a full-fledged drug addiction. She had a monster on her back and didn’t know how to get it off.

    READ MORE…

  • Shortly after his release, Baqir Mujahid sought the services of Community Success Initiative to network and find opportunities to assist in a smooth reentry. This led to taking a Building your Business class through CSI’s collaboration with Good Work, another Triangle area nonprofit.

    READ MORE…

  • Veronica Everette’ holds a degree in education from Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She has taught in the Philadelphia school system, has been an independent training consultant winning numerous training contracts with the Washington, DC, local government and with several federal agencies, and has worked for 16 years with the U.S. Department of Treasury,Financial Management Service as a training specialist.

    READ MORE…

  • On August 15, 1996, Daryl Atkinson began serving a prison term with the Alabama Department of Corrections for drug trafficking. Prior to that time, he lived a completely selfish life. He did exactly what I wanted to do, when he wanted to do it, and who he wanted to do it with. In hindsight, he thought his selfish behavior would bring him the happiness and  peace that he so deeply desired but it only brought him misery and pain. He indulged in drugs, alcohol, and other risky behaviors to try and fill a void that he felt deep within. Nothing worked, no matter what he tried and believe me he tried a lot, he always ended up completely spiritually, mentally, and physically bankrupt.

    READ MORE…

  • Demetris Burke was born in New York, New York but was raised by his mother and grandmother in Bertie County. Labeled by the justice system as a habitual felon by the age of 20, he was convicted of possession of crack cocaine with the intent to sell and deliver and received probation. Mr. Burke continued to participate in the drug gang and was eventually arrested for trafficking crack cocaine. And was sentenced to four years in the NC Department of Corrections.

    READ MORE…

  • Andre’s mission is to help children develop healthy strong relationships that allows them to reach their full potential. To ensure that every young person has the supportive relations they need to grow and develop into thriving, productive & engaged adults. He shares his story about growing up in Raleigh without a father figure an his time in prison.

    READ MORE…

  • Chuck Gall’s qualifications will be presented as a narrative. He got off hard drugs of hisown volition after thirteen years of living antisocially and illegally by his wits. He says he was fortunate to have been arrested during that time only once and for a petty crime of little consequence (Denver Colorado, 1961), however he did spend 79 days in Denver County Prison.

    READ MORE…

  • Miea joined the North Carolina Justice Center in September 2016 as the Second Chance Alliance Engagement Coordinator. She brings a wealth of knowledge regarding mass incarceration and the roadblocks returning citizens face as they are released from prison. Her passion as a social justice advocate is to amplify the voices of those directly impacted by the criminal justice system by increasing awareness and challenging the status quo. Miea serves on the steering committee of the Capital Area Reentry Council. She is a board member for the School of Conversion, an organization who works for beloved communities that unlearn habits of social division and is the Chair of the Christian Community Development Association mass incarceration task force. Miea received her undergraduate degree from Shaw …

    READ MORE…

  • Kurtis Taylor is an Outreach Worker and Reentry Coordinator for Oxford Houses of NC, a nonprofit network of 235 (statewide) self-help recovery homes. Along with the many duties of an Outreach Worker, Mr. Taylor is responsible for assisting men & women who are incarcerated with acceptance into Oxford House prior to release. Kurtis has been delivered from the disease of addiction since 2002 and has worked with Oxford House since 2004. Mr. Taylor’s work with helping incarcerated citizens transition back into the community through Oxford House is being used as a model throughout the country.

    READ MORE…

  • Karen McKinnon is the Women’s Resource Coordinator for Oxford House, Inc. a nonprofit network of 2100 (nationally) self-help recovery homes. She has been a woman in long-term recovery since July 1996. Karen has worked has worked with Oxford House since 2008. In 2011, becoming the first ever Oxford House Women’s Resource Coordinator in the country. Today her work is used as a model across the country.

    READ MORE…

  • Wayne Eaton took advantage of the program’s resources to get him where he is today. Looking back, only 7 years ago in 2010, Wayne was homeless and jobless living at the South Wilmington Street Men’s Shelter in Raleigh, NC. Now Wayne, is a dedicated servant of the community, helping to build up the hopes and dreams of men who feel lost not realizing that they already have what it takes to move on to their next level in life.

    READ MORE…

  • Reverend Brickle was ordained November 16, 2001 by the Wake County Baptist Association and is the Founder and President of Lost Sheep Outreach Ministry in Raleigh, NC. Lost Sheep Outreach Ministry has evolved over the past twenty years. Its inception came about as a result of Reverend Ron Collier and Brother Phil Brickle discussing the needs of the homeless and less fortunate one autumn afternoon. Both had a burning desire to meet the physical and spiritual needs of the community of forgotten persons.

    READ MORE…