Meet the Resident: Bobby

Reentering Society

What does the process of reentering society after incarceration look like? Each individual encounters a unique path, but an overarching commonality exists: challenge.

For Bobby Anderson, that journey began one year ago. “Coming out of jail is traumatic. I don’t care if it’s after a year, two years, whatever. Guys come here after being in jail for anywhere between one and 42 years. It’s an acclimation back into society.”

Freedom initiatives a new set of hurdles. It’s been said that, while formerly-incarcerated individuals are no longer locked in, they’re locked out of society upon release. From getting driver’s licenses reinstated, voting rights restored, legal fees addressed, and finding affordable and accepting housing and employment, this population faces obstacles many others never imagine.

“I didn’t know what to expect when I first came here,” Bobby says. “I wasn’t looking for a place like Dismas House, but my parole required a transition like this. I thought I would complete the program here and get out. But that changed. My mindset changed. A lot of incarcerated people didn’t have the proper tools to work with in society…but here, you’re given the tools to be successful.”

Moving Forward

Partnering with a dedicated care team, Bobby solidified a set of goals he wanted to accomplish during his time here. “All of the staff has been great in their own way, but my case manager fought for me from day one. She’s always been in my corner. I’ve known what I needed to do, but being here has made it easy to do it. For me, Dismas House means a safe haven. A place where you’re embraced and encouraged to succeed.”

Adding to Bobby’s sentiment of utilizing provided tools, his case manager noted, “Bobby has made the most of the resources offered at Dismas House. He’s consistently grown in his interpersonal skills, communicating his needs, and embracing patience.”

Bobby celebrated his 74th birthday last month and continues considering items he wants to achieve. Holding a bachelor’s degree in Psychology, he plans to obtain a graduate certificate in Human Resources while living at Dismas House to further bolster his mission of obtaining meaningful employment. Thinking strategically, Bobby aims to find work in Tennessee with a second-chance employer who will later facilitate a transfer back to his home state of New York. To Bobby, this ultimately connects to a primary goal: reconnecting with his family.

Building A Legacy

Asked what he hopes for his legacy to be, he stated, “I want to be known as someone who can be relied on. People have loved me and relied on me through the years, and I’ve disappointed them countless times. I want to change that. I want to be the change I want to see, and I want my word to count for something. My grandchildren – they just want me to show up. That’s what I want my legacy to be – somebody who showed up and could be depended on.” 

When Bobby transitions back to New York, he says he’ll miss Tennessee’s sweet tea but looks forward to enjoying the best pizza slices again. For now, he’s creating a legacy of laughter and determination on our campus, and we’re grateful to be along for the journey.