Woman helps ex-offenders find a new life

May 7, 2009 (CHICAGO) The foundation is the work of a mother who lost her son to violence on the streets. Her hope is to teach skills and trades that will keep other young people from turning to crime. ABC7's Harry Porterfield thinks founder Audrey Wright is someone you should know.

Inside the building at 6430 S. Ashland forces are at work to help make a change in the Englewood community through Gordie's Foundation. A vocational training program for ex-offenders, it was founded by Audrey Wright following the shooting death of her 24-year-old son, Gordie, in 1998.

"This is what gave me the vision to put a building like this together," said Wright, "because if I didn't put this building together and have these programs to help young men off the street they were gonna kill somebody else's child and I didn't want that."

A course in carpentry gives students a glimpse of new opportunities.

"It's changed my life...with the hands-on training, I would have no problem in obtaining a job if I were to go out and apply for a job," said Lawrence Moye, student.

Computer instruction is available to students along with a class on janitorial techniques.

A barber school is also part of the program of Gordie's Foundation.

"It's a blessing, because most of the time when you get out on parole you don't have anywhere to go, there's no jobs available, there's no one trying to help you. Its' a blessing in disguise," said Kenneth Harris, student.

Last year the foundation graduated 100. Of that number, 55 found jobs in construction, doing janitorial work and others sewing uniforms.

Sewing is an occupation Faye Halbrick has always wanted to do.

"It means I can finally do some of my dreams that I've been talking about for years in sewing, I get to put in action," said Halbrick.

"Deep down inside I have a good feeling on this side and not so good feeling on this side...because on this side I feel I've helped somebody's child. On this side, I feel I haven't done enough," said Wright.

Audrey Wright, founder of Gordie's Foundation and someone you should know.

To learn more about the organization log on to www.gordies.ws.

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