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.
31 MAR, 2020

When you are going through something hard and wonder where God is, remember the teacher ?is always quiet during a test."-AnonymousIn 1632 the Bubonic Plague that had swept through Europe finally made its way to the little village of Oberammergau, 50 miles south of Munich in Bavaria. The inhabitants had quarantined themselves, but a farmer who had been working in another town sneaked back home and within days 20 percent of the villagers were dead. It was said that you could have lunch with your friends and dinner with your ancestors, so fast did the disease take its toll. Every family lost someone, and other families were wiped out completely. Fear held every person in its grip, and today as we face a pandemic in our own time we can understand a little of how these villagers felt. We look up to the heavens with questioning eyes. Families are losing loved ones, businesses have closed their doors, and it seems like everything we hold dear ...

28 FEB, 2020

Nothing stops a bullet like a job."-Homeboy Industries' Founder Greg BoyleIn 1986 Father Gregory Boyle was assigned to the poorest Catholic parish in Los Angeles, a parish which included the largest public housing project west of the Mississippi and the highest concentration of gang activity. Since the 80s he has put together a program at Homeboy Industries that focuses on mentoring, training and jobs, changing the lives of thousands of men and women over the years.In our own city, since 2009 when Mayor Ballard introduced the YouthWorks Indy program, we have been providing jobs for young people during the summer months. Today, under Mayor Hogsett, as more and more employers are seeing the short and long term advantages of hiring at-risk youth, these available jobs number in the thousands.Meanwhile, a study by the University of Chicago found that if you give a high-risk young person a six-week summer job with some targeted mentoring, he ...

30 JAN, 2020

How many times in the last year has this city lost a child at the hands of another child?"-Barack ObamaWe know the statistics - that children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of schools and twenty times more likely to end up in prison. They are more likely to have behavioral problems, or run away from home, or become teenage parents themselves. And the foundations of our community are weaker because of it.How many times have our hearts stopped in the middle of the night with the sound of a gunshot or a siren? How many teenagers have we seen hanging around on street corners when they should be sitting in a classroom, working, or at least looking for a job? How many in this generation are we willing to lose to poverty or violence or addiction?Yes, we need more cops on the street...But we also need families to raise our children. We need fathers ...

30 DEC, 2019

Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right."-Oprah WinfreyHere it is, the end of another year. A year of great memories and probably some things we'd like to forget. We aren't perfect--we are merely little lead tokens moving around the Monopoly board, hoping to "get it right," to pick up some good properties and a Get Out Of Jail Free card in case we land in the wrong spot.The simple quote by Oprah Winfrey is testament to a woman who in her enormous success still knew she needed to get it right. Born to an unmarried teenage mother, she spent her first six years living in rural poverty with her grandmother, Hattie Mae. Her grandmother taught her to read before the age of three and took her to the local church, where she was nicknamed "The Preacher" for her ability to recite Bible verses.When you think about the fact that as a child, Winfrey was so poor, she often wore dresses made of potato sacks, it is stunning that ...

27 NOV, 2019

I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me insufficient for that day."-Abraham LincolnThe nation was at war with itself. In 1863 the Civil War had raged for more than two tortuous years, and few felt the heavy pain of responsibility more keenly than President Abraham Lincoln.Thanksgiving as a national holiday did not exist. Although George Washington had called for a day to give thanks on October 3, 1789, for the many "favors of Almighty God [leading to] the peaceable establishment of our government," it was not expected to be repeated. In the ensuing years, a few states designated different days of thanksgiving, but nothing was celebrated on a national scale.Enter Sarah Hale, the 74-year-old magazine editor of the popular Godey's Lady's Book. She believed our country should be united in thanks to God for all His blessings--in spite of ...

31 OCT, 2019

I'd rather work in reentry anywhere in Indiana but Marion County." -Anonymous My wife Nancy was asked to be the moderator for a panel discussion on faith-based reentry for the Marion County Reentry Coalition's very popular annual conference. In preparation, she met with a number of folks who work in reentry for the state. Since we don't have private offices at UNITE INDY and work at shared-workspace tables, I overheard one state employee tell her he'd rather work on reentry anywhere in the state but Marion County. I stopped what I was doing and started to listen. "Why?" She asked. He remarked that reentry organizations in Indianapolis "do not play well with others." He said, "Unlike other counties, they don't join with other organizations that work in reentry to tackle the larger problems we have. Take Fort Wayne, for example. There is a monthly luncheon where all the secular and faith-based groups get together. They share their succe...

30 SEP, 2019

I'd be half a man if I didn't help my neighbors"-Kenny VaughanAs forty-one inches of hurricane Irma's rain poured over the east coast of Texas and water filled the same homes that had only recently been rebuilt from hurricane Harvey, Kenny Vaughan was once again in his boat doggedly searching from house to house pulling out the aged, the children, and even swimming dogs. When asked why he keeps showing up and doing this, he gave the interviewer the simple answer above.His comment struck me. It reminded me of a meeting I had with a marketing person who wants to help us involve young people in volunteerism. She suggested we remove the cross from our logo. "Young people," she said, "are kind of anti religion." Well...maybe some are, but more than likely it reflects their lack of understanding of what the cross represents.When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the ten commandments, we were presented with just four rules to guide our rel...

30 AUG, 2019

Wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then" -Bob Seger Naïveté is a precious thing. Most of us can look back on times when life was great. We were loved, we were happy—maybe we were five, or maybe it was high school. But something happened and we learned that life is not golden all the time. We learned that the world can be difficult, even cruel. Bob Seger was just a kid of 10 when his alcoholic father left for good. The man had spent years in shouting matches with his wife in fights so hateful and loud, the the neighbors got involved. The tumult was finally over when he abandoned the family, leaving them in financial ruin. Seger had to grow up fast. He later wrote these words in a song called "Against The Wind." In April 1980 the song hit Billboard's Hot top 100 chart and stayed for 17 weeks, and while Seger's words reflected his own experiences with disappointment and heartache, they also hit home for multitudes of the dishear...

31 JUL, 2019

Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success." -Henry Ford My wife, Nancy, and I took our youngest grandchildren to the Henry Ford museum in Dearborn Michigan recently. It was a great trip and we learned a lot about history and one of the men that made it happen. In the early 1900s "horseless carriages" were expensive toys available only to a wealthy few, but Ford envisioned an automobile for the masses. After his first effort with the Model A, in 1908 he introduced the fantastically popular Model T, eventually selling 16.5 million of them. You could have it in any color, said Ford, "as long as it was black." Initially, each car took nine hours to build, and the company couldn't keep up with demand. So Ford studied and constantly improved his assembly line methods until a Model T rolled off the production line every nine minutes. The problem was, workers could be unreliable and when one...

30 JUN, 2019

You cannot fight a battle you don't think exists." -John Eldridge Most of us live in peaceful neighborhoods, where gunshots don't awaken us in the night, but just because we don't hear the gunshots, doesn't mean they are not being fired. As I was driving north on College Avenue on Saturday, I was stopped by a line of cars following a hearse. The funeral procession was incredibly long. After seven or eight minutes, I swung into another lane and turned hoping to find a clear path home, but the procession had turned as well and once again, I was stopped. Literally hundreds of cars went by. I called out to someone stalled in the procession nearby and they held up a flyer with the name Albert Germany in large type. I offered a quick word of condolence as they drove off. Albert Germany, Jr. was killed on June 12, around 5:30 pm. Police have arrested Dallas M. Jones and charged him with murder. I doubt I would ever have heard the victim's n...

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241 West 38th Street, Indianapolis, IN 46208


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Our mission is to reduce recidivism and rebuild lives through the dignity of work.