CHICAGO (CBS) — A newly-established nonprofit is offering a second chance to ex-offenders who are looking to turn things around – sometimes even as they still struggle.
One of those men is T – who wished only to be identified by that single letter out of fear for his safety.READ MORE: Jussie Smollett Takes The Witness Stand, Describes Alleged Attack As Real And Like 'Something Out Of Looney Tunes Adventures'
T is 23 years old and has been shot nine times.
“Every day when I wake up, the first thing that crosses my heard is if I’ll make it back to go to sleep,” T said.
The latest attempt on his life happened on Saturday, and the former gang member will be getting around on crutches for the next three weeks now.
The most recent shooting left him with a bullet in his left leg, and an air of optimism in his heart.
“I’m still here. I just know that I’m blessed,” T said. “I’ve got to do something different now.”
But doing something different can be difficult when you’re an ex-convict. With gun charges on his record, T was out of prison and out of work.
But the Plan B Foundation seeks to offer a solution.
“There’s no reason why he can’t spend the rest of his life working and having a good life like the rest of us,” said Carrie Brockie, founder of the Plan B Foundation.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Coldest Temperatures In Nearly 10 Months Early Tuesday
Brockie and her husband, George, started the nonprofit last August – using their Lombard-based construction company to offer ex-offenders a second shot.
So far, they have hired and helped five former felons develop valuable construction skills – including T.
T built a shelf by himself before Brockie even taught him how.
“She told me not to do it, but I snuck in and did it anyway,” T said.
“It takes a really strong person to rise above it and become a better person,” Brockie said.
T was forced into hiding after the shooting Saturday, leaving his home and his loved ones behind – including his 4-month-old daughter.
“I love them, and I don’t want to be the reason something happens to them,” T said.
But now instead of grabbing a gun, T is choosing to grab a drill. He is picking Plan B and doing the right thing for his infant daughter.MORE NEWS: View Live Radar
“I don’t want to go back that route. I just want to get away, because if I pick it up again, then I’m going back to jail,” T said. “Then my daughter will really grow up without me.”