Spending time in prison in Florida gave Edwin a lot of time to think about how he wanted to change his life. After his release to a half-way house, Edwin saved money from his job so he could move to Geneva, N.Y., where his mother lived. He knew she was dying, and he wanted to be close to her and his adolescent daughter. Before his mother passed, she asked him, "Please do something with your life."
While in prison, Edwin took up barbering. After he moved to New York, he enrolled in the Continental School of Beauty in Rochester. As graduation neared, he learned that he couldn’t get a barber’s license right away due to the rules of his parole compelling him to prove he’d been clean for three years. About this time, Edwin met with a case manager at CFC’s Community Resource Services. He helped him navigate the court system, cross-state paperwork and appeal process. CCFCS wrote a letter to the Florida clerk on Edwin’s behalf, asking for a judge to review Edwin’s papers and waive the three-year requirement.
Edwin’s case worker, Elijah, praises Edwin for his perseverance. "He really dedicated himself to this. To have spent all that time incarcerated, and then to spend all that time to stay true to the course and not turn back, that’s who Edwin is. For other people, going through the same thing, for this amount of time, this experience may have crushed them. But, he persevered for himself and for his family. Edwin is an ideal of what a man is: a family man – a father who does what it takes, the right way."
As Edwin awaited the judge’s decision, he began working at a friend’s barber shop in Geneva and quickly started building a loyal customer base. Edwin specializes in cutting artistic designs in the hair on the side or back of a client’s head, tailoring the look to the client’s personality. "I know the skills that I have and I love it. I like customers to be happy when they get out of my chair." He also studied and obtained a license to practice as an electrician, which has helped him obtain a high-skill job to further support the dreams he has for himself and his daughter.
Edwin doesn’t allow himself to be discouraged. His advice to others is "to push yourself, keep yourself honest, and if you know you have talent and are educated, use your mind—that’s what God gave you. What I did before, it didn’t help me, and now I am asking for the doors God gave me to be reopened in the future."
Edwin’s dream is to open his own barber shop, and in five years be able to buy houses and rent them out to help earn income for his daughter’s future and education. When asked what advice Edwin would give to others who want to establish themselves, Edwin offered: "Sit down with a paper and pen and write down the steps required to get you where you need to go. Find out how to get the money needed for school, a car, and push and persevere. Focus on yourself, your goals and your future."
A quick overview of Family and Community Services