John Roland, Director of Development and Marketing
Q: How long has the Foundry been operating?
A: We started out as the Bessemer Reserve in 1971, with our primary focus on Rescue. We added the two other R’s in 1996, Recovery and Re-entry. Recovery is a 12 month program while Re-entry is a 6 month program. We now have 408 beds and have expanded our operations.
Q: Why did you choose to get involved?
A: I started in 2017 so I haven’t been there too long, but am very passionate about the work. I attended Samford for my undergraduate degree in marketing, and then was involved in ministry. My family has a background in addiction, so I have seen the effects first-hand.
Q: I’m especially interested in learning more about the re-entry program. What can you share about it?
A: We have about 150 in the Re-entry program a year; we can sleep 75 at a time. It is a six month program, and one month after the program ends, 90% of the participants are employed. We also incorporate reconciliation with the family. There is a program for life skills, confidence building, and a course that helps them build a life plan. All are welcome--there is no discrimination. All colors and all walks of life are treated the same. We work closely with the system, we’re one block away from a parole office. The Foundry will oftentimes advocate for a reduced sentence. We have court referrals from across the country spanning 34 states.
Q: That’s amazing. Could you tell me what your favorite part about being involved is?
A: I love seeing the transformations. A lot of individuals have had society and the country give up on them, but I love seeing the hope they find at the Foundry. We have graduations each quarter. There were 47 graduates this past time and each of them get their time at the microphone where they can share anything they’d like to share. We have many who have been in prison for decades and now have a certificate from Lawson, or Miles.
Addiction is a disease, and our program gives long-term results for these issues. Through counselling, we are able to peel the onion and understand the myriad of reasons why drug addiction has happened. Many never would have thought that childhood abuse played a role in this.
I also love hearing the feedback from families. It also starts from seeing the individual, not someone to throw away.
Q: That’s beautiful. Thanks for sharing. Anything else you would like to add?
A: I am grateful for the civil rights firms that are standing for the disadvantaged. I see people wronged every single day and it is wonderful to see firms standing up for them.
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