DAYTON, Ohio — Just to be on the computer as a free man and looking to better himself took Tre Carey three years and a prison sentence.

What You Need To Know

  • Life Launch 2.0 is a program that helps young adults who have been through the justice system get back on their feet

  • The program provides support and helps them find housing and work

  • So far the about 50 young adults have been through the program, and they have the budget to help about 50 more

“Life was very difficult, and I was making bad decisions, and leading myself down a path of destruction,” said Carey.

Carey, 24, said he was arrested at 19 years old after he ran from police during a traffic stop and got the maximum three-year prison sentence.

He said life got worse on the inside.

“I was smoking weed in there, I was using a cell phone in there, they had cell phones in there, I was doing, drinking alcohol, I was doing a whole bunch of stuff I know I shouldn’t have,” he said. “That was my first year. I was mad at the world, and didn’t care.”

But while he was locked up, he said something hit him.

“When I was seeing older people in there, that really struck me, that really spoke levels to me, like, do I really want to be that person?,” said Carey.

It was the trigger that soon led him to a room, inside of Goodwill Easter Seals in Dayton. He went there when he got out of prison in 2019, and he said it changed his life.

“They are phenomenal young people who for the most part just need a chance,” said Jennifer Bonifas, vocational services senior director.

Bonifas helps operate the program to give those young people that chance after Goodwill Easter Seals received a grant. The money was used to start a program called Life Launch 2.0, a program that helps young adults with a criminal record get back on their feet.

“Where they are, is where we’re going to be, we’re going to meet them where they’re at, and we’re going to provide whatever services they need to help them take those next steps forward,” said Bonifas.

So far, organizers said they’ve helped close to 50 people find a new path in life and still have the funds to take 50 more like Tre Carey in.

“It’s tough, but it’s all about your decisions,” said Carey.

He decided to build a better life. He obtained a GED, started college, got his own place and is working now after he spent a year in the program and spent hours on that computer job searching.

“I don’t have a plan B,” Carey said. “I have no plan B, so I got to do this, or I just don’t make it.”