The president of Bravo Corporation in Birmingham, Alabama, Ramon Arias leads a successful pizza franchise with over 800 employees. Ramon Arias also gives back to the community by working with the job readiness and job re-entry programs of The Foundry Ministries in Bessemer, Alabama.
The Foundry began in 1971 with the aim of bringing back hope and restoring the lives of ex-inmates, the destitute, and addicts through Christ-centered ministries. One of the organization’s initiatives is its prison re-entry program. Every year, thousands of men are released from Alabama prisons. With little support, appropriate life skills, or relevant education, some former inmates resort to committing crimes again in order to survive.
The re-entry program is made up of two phases lasting six months. Ex-inmates live at The Foundry, where they are provided basic essentials such as shelter, food, and clothing and are assisted in acquiring legal documents such as a driver’s license. They take part in voluntary counseling, prayer, adult education, and financial management programs.
In the first phase, the men serve on-site in an “employment readiness” area to help get adjusted to the mainstream workforce. The next phase involves acquiring full-time or part-time employment out in the real world. With a salaried job, the participants pay a reasonable stipend for food and lodging while completing the final portion of the program. This entails living in transitional housing, receiving continued support and accountability, and eventually finding a permanent home.