ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Dozens of dads will put food on the table for their families and take their kids to school this fall. It’s a big accomplishment since not too long ago, those fathers were in prison.
A local program is helping New Mexico parents build better futures.
Willie Rankin and his co-workers take pride in washing cars, doing wood work, building furniture and much more.
“The work we do is quality,” Rankin said.
Rankin manages the auto detail department for Fathers Building Futures in Albuquerque.
“This program is like a blessing,” Rankin smiled. Years ago, becoming a manager may have seemed far-fetched. Rankin spent five years in federal prison for selling drugs.
Wth a felony record, finding good work isn’t easy. That’s where Fathers Building Futures comes in.
“It’s the men of this program who are the real leaders,” explained Emet Ma’ayan, Director of Fathers Building Futures.
“One hundred percent of our fathers pay child support, they do budgeting, they have bank accounts, they are paying their taxes, they’re doing all the things that they’ve always wanted to do.”
Ma’ayan helped start the program in 2011 after working with incarcerated parents through the non-profit PB&J Family Services.
“We just watched people just go back because they could not find work,” Ma’ayan recalled.
At Fathers Building Futures, formerly incarcerated fathers learn job skills, they go through family counseling, even more, they reconnect with their children on a positive level.
“I should be a good example to my kids,” Rankin told KRQE News 13. “My future’s not ended, but I can still make something happen like get them to school, get them to college and stuff like that. I want to be that type of father.”
“I’m not judged here about having tattoos on me, I’m not judged about my past,” Rankin added.
The Mayor’s office took notice of the program more than a year ago, and awarded them $30,000 at last year’s charity gala.
“Life is about second chances, and this is truly the epitome of second chances,” explained Gilbert Montaño, the Mayor’s Chief of Staff.
Since the charity gala, the customer base for Fathers Building Futures has grown. Ma’ayan said the organization has had help from the community getting work, and building products for other organizations like Habitat for Humanity and Safe House.
The latest accomplishment for Fathers Building Futures includes winning a bid for a big city contract to power wash Albuquerque’s garbage truck fleet.
When asked about the garbage truck contract, Rankin told KRQE News 13, “That’s a blessing.”
He and his co-workers couldn’t be more excited.
“That’s just like helping the program, helping another father come out of prison, putting food on the next man’s plate and their kids.”
“We’re taking the negativity of social stigmas, and we’re turning it into positives,” explained Ma’ayan. “We’re proud to wash those garbage trucks.”
Fathers Building Futures is on its way to becoming its own non-profit. Anyone can find some of their woodwork at the downtown Albuquerque farmer’s market.