Graduate Highlight: Leonard, Class 81

Leonard on graduation day with his instructor, Deborah Smith.

Leonard on graduation day with his instructor, Deborah Smith.

My name is Leonard Dwarn Carver. I am a 48 year old father of four. I am originally from New York, but grew up on various military bases both abroad and domestically before joining the military myself. I was a troubled young man from a dysfunctional and unstable family life that left me unequipped to be a man. Getting into trouble with the law at an early age, I spent all of my 20s in prison. Not getting out until the age of 32, I never attended school outside of a correctional facility. After getting out of prison in February 2000, I didn’t go back to prison, but I hopped from job to job never staying at any job more than three years. During this time, I continued to get involved in one bad relationship after another that negatively influenced my decision making and caused me to make some very poor choices in my life.

Eighteen years later, I found myself in yet another failed marriage with an addict and unemployed yet again. I heard about WorkFaith Birmingham and decided to attend the class after hearing that they help ex-felons find work. It looked like I would fail.  In the first few days I lost my wife and kids and almost lost the roof over my head.

If not for Pastor Andy Blake coming to my home and talking with me when I had thoughts of suicide, Shanavia Moore listening to my troubles and offering advice on my legal and health issues, and Mrs. Deborah Smith sharing her testimony with me when I was ready to quit, I would now be dead or in jail.

Instead, this class made me feel like I wasn’t alone and filled me with a new confidence and sense of purpose that I hadn't had in years! Helping me actually see my police report/background let me know it wasn’t as bad as I had thought all these years. By the end of this class, instead of hopeless I am hopeful. Instead of depressed, I am determined. Not perfect, but definitely in a better place than when I started. I am forever grateful and indebted to this Workfaith Birmingham team here at the Salvation Army.

Click here to watch a video of Leonard sharing his testimony at his WorkFaith graduation.