Feb 4, 2024 - News

How the Denver Dream Center helps people with reentry

Illustration of a man standing in the dark looking up towards a tiny window in the shape of a house casting light.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Lonnie Griego constantly sees the identity crisis faced by people released from prison.

Zoom in: When someone is incarcerated, they can develop a new persona, even go by a different name — things Griego says need to be abandoned for someone to become a more productive member of society.

State of play: It's a message preached by the Denver Dream Center, a local nonprofit that assists with reentry, and where Griego, a Thrive Program Coordinator, helps people get placements into halfway houses, work and other services.

Details: The nonprofit has a 60-day program and works with people to obtain proper documentation, take personal development classes, and connect them with community partners.

  • The program typically helps about 30 people a year, but dozens more use some of its other services, the center's Thrive Program director Jennifer Sheedy Bryant tells us.

The intrigue: One of the first things many people who are formerly incarcerated need is an ID. Griego says prisons often do a poor job managing an inmate's records, including birth certificates.

  • Getting one could involve an online application, which may not be easy for someone who isn't computer literate, Griego tells us.

Of note: The nonprofit this year will mark the 10th anniversary of its founding by CEO Bryan Sederwall, who's known as Pastor B.

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