After 28 years in prison, Bruce Houser found a second chance in SER’s Serving for Success program (operated in partnership with the Houston Food Bank).
“Now I'm very hopeful, with a very bright future ahead of me,” said Bruce. “I will be able to save the money for everything I need… and move on with my life after incarceration.”
“My name is Bruce Houser, and I started Serving for Success with a prospect to hopefully gain employment. I had just gotten through doing 28 years of incarceration and had no future in sight.”
“[Before being incarcerated] Bruce was a handyman, and he had an electrician's certificate,” said Buddy Oviol, Serving for Success career coach. “At the moment, he's living in transitional housing… Not because he's on probation or parole… [but] because he was released from jail and is in a transitional process, which I think is very smart.”
“I was luckily one of the candidates that was able to attend [Serving for Success], a two-week intense classroom program,” said 57-year-old Bruce. “[Serving for Success] helped me with the job skills I needed to learn. How to build out a resumé, how to dress, and how to conduct myself in a job interview. But most of all, what to say and what not to say during a job interview that would hamper or help me.”
“Bruce is a very focused guy,” said Buddy. “He is focused on the objectives that he has set for himself: getting better knowledge, getting a profession, accumulating savings, and getting back on track after so many years in jail.”
“Now, after a 7 week internship through Serving for Success, I'm am luckily one of the ones that did get hired on with the Houston Food Bank,” says Bruce. “I was given a living wage.”
“[Bruce] is trying to recover the time that he lost,” says Buddy. “He is working in the Houston Food Bank almost 30 hours per week. The rest of the week, he's taking classes at Houston Community College in midtown. He’s taking computer, math, and art classes. ‘The world has changed a lot,’ he told me. ‘Everything is about computers. What we get in jail is very basic. We cannot imagine that for everything that you want to do, you have to use the computer.’ ”
“I was talking to [Bruce] about his hobbies, about family,” Buddy said. “And he said ‘I don't have family here. The rest of the time I go to church. I volunteer at church. And I'm very focused on learning something new.’ He's building up his savings, because he wants to have a truck, and he wants to get an apartment.”
“Now I'm very hopeful, with a very bright future ahead of me,” said Bruce. “I will be able to save the money for everything I need. Buy a vehicle for myself and move on with my life after incarceration.”
If you are interested in learning more about the Serving for Success program, information and enrollment sessions take place every Thursday at 9 am at the Houston Food Bank, located at 535 Portwall St. Houston, TX 77029. The two-week program takes place every month.