“I’ve applied to hundreds of jobs. As soon as they background check, they tell me they are doing with someone else,” Braithwaite said.
His situation is common for many formerly incarcerated individuals.
According to the National Institute of Justice, about 44% of ex-convicts released from prison return within a year. This can be credited in part to difficulties finding employment.
To Braithwaite’s benefit, he discovered Augustinian Defenders of the Rights of the Poor (A.D.R.O.P.).
The South Philadelphia nonprofit works to create a more restorative criminal justice system by providing jobs for people like him, and connecting individuals with identified needs to valuable resources.
He works there every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday from 8 AM to 11 AM, and hands out free cups of coffee to those who pass by.
“A cup of coffee will go a long way,” said Braithwaite.
He feels his purpose is to help others as he has been helped.
Learn more about how a South Philadelphia nonprofit is working to build better communities and the people it helps in CBS News Philadelphia.
Meet Tommy Braithwaite: this is his first day of work at the Brewin’ Peace Coffee cart upon reentering society after being incarcerated.