It was so meaningful for me to attend the award ceremony with the OBB team and witness my friends and peers honored for their successes. We felt supported and seen!
—Willie, OBB alum (spring 2021)
At Odyssey Beyond Bars, we know that connecting people with high-quality education in prison equips them with tools for lifelong success — and we were thrilled to celebrate some of those successes at the Second Annual Correcting the Narrative Awards. On September 1, the OBB team joined a cheering crowd of over 300 to celebrate the accomplishments of eight men and women who recently left Wisconsin prisons to build new lives in their Milwaukee communities.
The annual awards celebrate the typically unsung achievements of these brave men and women who are now making positive contributions to their families, neighborhoods and workplaces. “[We’re] honoring these quieter stories of people who are not as vocal, who aren’t out there running a business or organization, but they’re quietly doing exactly what we want people to do in society,” said Shannon Ross, executive director of The Community, the reentry support organization that sponsored the event. “Be good people. Come out, get a job, have a family. They should be held up as much as anyone else because most people in this demographic are going to see themselves in that story … of quietly succeeding.”
For OBB, it was also an opportunity to connect with former students and celebrate their successes, big and small. Joining the OBB staff were three alumni — Willie Davis, Neal Stahl and Mark Español — who have all moved back into their communities and are flourishing in their new lives. Willie is currently enrolled in a paralegal program at Moraine Park Technical College, while Neal is finishing up his associate degree at Milwaukee Area Technical College. Mark is thriving as well as one of the 30 students in the UW Odyssey Project’s community-based class in Madison, with hopes of one day becoming a social worker.
OBB congratulates the 2022 honorees, who came together to speak about their personal experiences of Correcting the Narrative.