SECOND CHANCE ORANGE COUNTY (SCOC) is a non-profit charity that provides recovering drug/alcohol addicts important workforce skills taught by experienced professionals free of charge. They help low-income adults recovering from addiction adjust back into society, by providing free job skills training, interview skills, help filling out FAFSA (Federal financial aid forms), one-on-one coaching, mentoring and job placement-they customize the best plan to ensure success, by taking in a large number of factors. What really differentiates Second Chance OC is that they go out and find their clients the “right” job for them. There are over 37 volunteers currently helping to both mentor the clients, get on the phone and make cold calls and knock on doors to find clients the job they believe will increase the odds of him/her staying sober and returning to a life of success.
Deb Johnson, Executive Director stated, “Everyone deserves a second chance! I started this non-profit two years ago because I saw a huge gap in services, and instead of complaining about it, I decided to fix it. Families were, at times, wasting their money on rehab, and their kids, and family members were not staying sober. Rehab gets them sober, but handling the stress involved with trying to remain sober and work simultaneously is another story. The low-income individuals were getting sober on their own, as Cal Optima doesn’t cover rehab, and then struggling to survive after they detoxed on their own. SCOC picks up a necessary piece of the pie that was severely missing in the community.” Deb earned her undergraduate degree in marketing from California State University, Fullerton – she owned and ran a successful bank-consulting firm for over 15 years. Even after all of her success she went on to get her Master’s Degree in Public Administration- Non-Profit Management from Columbia University in New York City. This need in the community is something Deb holds near and dear to her heart, she is so passionate about the work they are doing and so proud of her clients. As of this writing, all 26 clients are sober, and becoming productive members of society. SCOC works with adult men and woman and one third of the clients that SCOC placed in jobs are Jewish. “The Jewish population is ecstatic that I am Jewish and many of our mentors are as well and understand how they have felt alone in their recovery journey. Luckily, we connect them with other Jews in recovery. And we will coordinate transportation for them to AA/NA meetings, probation, temple or a food bank when needed,” Deb stated. Many of the clients were homeless, incarcerated for drug related crimes, homeless on the street, or renting a room in a home. As long as their clients remain sober SCOC will continue to help them for a year. In some cases, they have placed several clients in a subsequent job after a prior job was completely successfully or in case of relapse, and return to sobriety.
One client shared, “The people at Second Chance OC showed me that I can do it and there are people that will help. I appreciate the people I met at the job I was placed. The good news is: I am in recovery and have over 20 months sober! The help that Second Chance Orange County provides can mean the difference between life and death!” Another said, “You provided an opportunity to make something of the life I thought I had destroyed. You believed in my ability to stay clean and saw something in me, when I was unsure of what was to come in the days/months ahead. The position where Second Chance Orange County placed me was an excellent opportunity for me to re-enter the workforce.”
Second Chance OC is proud to be supported by a community of individuals in Orange County sharing their time, skills and generous donations towards its’ cause. This all-volunteer grassroots organization has garnered thousands of volunteer hours. Because everyone deserves a Second Chance, and people want to help those that are ready to receive it.
To find out how you can get involved and donate please call (714) 922-0070, or email Deb Johnson, firstname.lastname@example.org or you can visit their website at www.secondchanceoc.org.
Tanya Schwied graduated from New York University, studied abroad in Israel, and currently works as the Manager of Operations at Jewish Federation & Family Services, Orange County.