Jim's Quotes

Jim Cotterill co-founded 2nd Chance Indiana (as UNITE INDY) in late 2016. After a decade as the founding president of National Christian Foundation Indiana following several years developing a chain of Business Journals across the country, he and his wife, Nancy, were led to serve those coming out of long term incarceration by helping them find and keep jobs that pay a living wage. Jim and Nancy believe that, through the dignity of work, reentrants' lives can be changed and their families can be lifted out of poverty.
26 AUG, 2022

The Lord sometimes has to short-circuit even our best plans for our benefit."—Tony DungyTony Dungy knows about success, but also bitter disappointment. After a stellar football performance in high school and college, he signed on as a free agent with the Pittsburg Steelers, winning a Super Bowl ring in 1978. Before long he started up the ranks of NFL defensive coaching.Meanwhile in 1996, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had one of the worst records in the NFL. Desperate for fresh leadership, they hired Tony Dungy as head coach. This job was the realization of his dreams. He re-designed Tampa's defense, famously instituting what is now called Tampa 2, and developed work-arounds for the team's problem areas, and built the Bucs into real contenders.Then came a devastating one-two-three punch. The Bucs lost in the playoffs, Tony's mother died, and a few days later he was fired from his job as head coach. I actually remember a video some news team t...

29 JUL, 2022

My name is Jonathan and today seems like a good day to die"—Greenwood Mall ShooterJuly 19, 2022This kid's quote sparks more questions than we have room to print. To start off with, he posted photos of himself wearing an ammo vest and mask, holding a pistol to his head. Did no one see this? Do these kinds of actions not indicate an issue with guns and a penchant for violence? Were there no friends, or family members who were concerned about his obvious propensity toward guns and killing?I doubt very much his family wasn't aware of his problems. I am sure friends of this guy wondered if he would really do what he acted like he was going to do, and now they are having "I told you so" conversations. But still, we wonder, are his photos and posts enough evidence to go to the police? I guess it depends on who you ask. Let's ask Pedro Pineda and his wife Rosa or Victor Gomez. Let's ask them. Oh, he killed them, so I guess we can't get their vi...

30 JUN, 2022

These are black people killing black people. It's self-genocide. People have been accepting this like it was normal."— Sharif Amenhotep, Newark Anti-violence ActivistOur new Federal holiday, Juneteenth, is a powerful reminder of the millions who were enslaved in our country, as well as those who fought to end slavery. Unfortunately, the holiday was not the celebration it might have been.In Washington D.C., three people were shot and a 15 year-old boy laid on the ground begging for his mother as he died. He was not a target, just the unlucky recipient of a bullet released by a thoughtless thug. Meanwhile, Chicago celebrated Juneteenth by shooting 38 people and killing four. In Baltimore, at least four people were killed and six others injured in weekend shootings. All black-on-black violence.Other Juneteenth incidents were reported in California, South Carolina, Michigan, and Colorado. One mother told reporters, "My little boys know the ...

31 MAY, 2022

"If we don't defend what's important to us, what's important to us will disappear."— AnonymousSo, what's important to you? Your family? Would you defend them? Or, your money or house? Maybe your possessions? What about your rights? Where do they come in your list of "Top Ten Things You'd Defend"?Under the heading "Rights," would you have subheadings? Like: privacy, speech, or parental rights? Do you have a right to safety? Much of this is debatable and is being debated in the public square. But one thing is certain, if we don't defend what's important to us, what is important will disappear.In everything we do we have a choice: Are we victims or are we "more than conquerors"? Can we fight the good fight of faith, or do we wait to see which way the wind blows? Too much of the talk we hear is cheap. Actions speak louder than words (I didn't make that up.).One of the newer words in our lexicon is "slacktivist." A slacktivist will promote c...

29 APR, 2022

"There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread."— Mahatma GandhiFor those who see God in the form of bread, God is getting more and more expensive.The price of bread has gone up 36% in the last year. Beef prices have increased by 30% and coffee futures are up 76%. So, that $4 cup of joe at Starbucks is probably going to hit $6 or $7 soon. Gas prices are up 70% from their low just months ago, and the price has actually gone down a few cents lately, because people can't afford to use their cars. One expert advises that since the price of used cars has gone up 46%, you should consider selling your vehicle and walking everywhere. (Gee, thanks for that.) I saw a man lose his mind at Lowes over a $7 credit he believed he should have, but didn't get. I felt for the guy. Seven bucks is dinner. Seven bucks matter. All this difficulty is thought to be fueling a resurgence of church attendance...

31 MAR, 2022

"This is the most money I have made legally!"— An overjoyed former inmate holding up his first paycheck from one of our partner employersSome people might think a quote like that is pretty negative. Undeniably, it reminds us that this person used to support himself as a criminal. Let's call him "Bobby." Perhaps he broke into homes and sold stolen goods, or was a drug dealer, or worse. Who knows?Ian Cox, who is a true champion of giving people a second chance at one of our employer partners, reported this scene to me. We shared one of those great moments of pride, like seeing your kid make the winning touch down in an important game. For us and anyone hoping for actual rehabilitation of those coming out of long-term incarceration, Bobby's excitement over his paycheck was nothing less than the conversion of a soul—early stages—but proof of new life for sure.Over the months and years Bobby will learn about the deeper benefits that only hon...

28 FEB, 2022

Do it until you do it right. Then do it until you can't do it wrong."——Monica Almada, Navarro College CoachUnknown by most of the world, are the annual National Cheer and Dance Championships in Daytona, Florida, where a small Texas community college, Navarro, has racked up 14 Association Championships and five Grand National Titles in the past few years, all since Monica Almada started coaching there. And, we're not talking about shaking pompoms here. There are ten muscle-bound young men and ten equally fit young women who literally fly through the air to form one unbelievably complex tower of bodies after another. All this is possible because of the focus and power of a coach, who is mama bear to this team of cast off kids—kids whose back stories are as complicated and difficult as the routines they bring to the stage.They come from the streets, from violent homes, from drug dens and poverty to try to get on this team. One of at the s...

31 JAN, 2022

In any city, there is a small number of very high-risk individuals who are responsible for the majority of gun violence."—David MohammedDavid Mohammed is known for his work in reducing gun violence in Oakland California—a city consistently ranked in the top 10 most violent as far back as the 1980s. Oakland called their operation "Cease Fire." It utilized clergy, community leaders, law enforcement and public officials to interact with perpetrators and victims of gun violence.Some cities have had miraculous results. As of 2018: Oakland, CA: 6th straight year of reductions in shootings and homicides, a 50% reduction since the program was introduced in 2012. Stockton, CA: 40% reduction in homicides during first year of implementation of the program. Sacramento, CA: First time in 35 years with no youth homicides. Indianapolis, IN: Commitment to begin a gun violence initiative to begin in 2019The fact that we pretty much know who the po...

31 DEC, 2021

He who opens a school door, closes a prison."—Victor HugoFrench writer Victor Hugo wrote about the atrocities of prison in the early 1800s. His seminal work, Les Miserables, is a story of the horrific conditions in the prisons of his day and the life of a man who was never quite free from the specter of incarceration. More than 150 years ago, Hugo clearly saw the link between incarceration and education—a link that is as true now as it was in 1862. The fact is that 85 percent of all juveniles who come into contact with the court system today are functionally illiterate. School dropouts are 3.5 times more likely to be arrested than high school graduates. Nationally, 68 percent of all males in prison do not have a high school diploma. In a world where half the human race is bi-lingual, we are not even making sure all our students can read and write in our own language. Of course they drop out of school. It seems obvious that rather than s...

30 NOV, 2021

Fear kills more dreams than failure ever will"—Anonymous Fear is the very basis of everything that holds us back from our true destiny. For a person who is reentering society after incarceration, it can be traumatic to even think about living on the outside. Inmates become "institutionalized," by living in a system that makes every decision for them. Often they are more frightened of living without rules than living forever in a cell.They worry: How will I eat, where will I live? Will I be able to get a job? As crazy as it may sound, many will reoffend just to go back to a place they consider to be "safe." Fear is the jet fuel behind the high recidivism rate.It was Jesus who reminded his followers to "Remember Lot's wife," who looked back at her burning home and turned into a pillar of salt. She was frozen in the past. Institutionalized prisoners are frozen in the past too. Unable to move into the life that is dawning in front of them. ...

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