A San Francisco apparel company is seeking to provide women who have spent time behind bars an opportunity to begin new careers in the fashion industry.
Named after the road leading out of the Central California Women's Correctional Facility in Chowchilla, Road Twenty-Two designs and manufactures high-end shirts for men and women. Since their founding in 2014, they have sought to hire women who have been incarcerated, providing them with needed skills and experience to earn a living in the field.
BREAKING THROUGH ROADBLOCKS
"I am committed to employing women in the United States who need a chance," says Road Twenty-Two CEO and co-founder Fif Ghobadian. "My concurrent desire is to humanize the image of the women who were formerly incarcerated, homeless, or suffering from substance abuse, and to break through employment roadblocks. In doing so, I can absolutely change people's lives for the better. This gives me joy."
Ghobadian knows what it is like to face employment roadblocks. Her family fled Iran during that country's revolution in the 1970s. She watched both of her parents struggle to find employment because of cultural and language barriers. "My eyes were opened wide to the realities of life that we are all subject to," she says. "Since then, I have felt great empathy for people who for whatever reason find themselves on the harsher side of life."
"People want to be a part of this company," says Rachael Dunne, an employee at Road Twenty-Two. "They want to help out this company, 'cause they believe in the mission."
"If you have incarceration [on your record], the types of jobs you get are not jobs that will help you advance, and in some cases, you can't even get the basic jobs," says Ghobadian. "So, for us, we are looking for people who made mistakes in their lives, but really want to redeem themselves and want an opportunity for change."
REDEMPTION AND CHANGE
Redemption is at the core of everything Prison Fellowship® does. Through in-prison evangelism events, Prison Fellowship introduces men and women to the life-changing message that Jesus has come to set prisoners free. With the help of volunteers, mentors, and churches across the country, these same men and women are prepared for a life beyond prison, and are introduced to communities that can provide support and encouragement. And through Prison Fellowship's advocacy program, there is hope that the corrections system can become both effective and efficient.
Visit Prison Fellowship's volunteer page to learn more about opportunities to be a part in the transformation of prisoners, their families, and their communities.