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Rochester group helps those formerly incarcerated create business

Published: Nov. 30, 2021 at 9:50 PM CST
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – An Olmsted County organization is helping people who were formerly incarcerated rehabilitate into society and one initiative involves entrepreneurship and goal setting.

The organization with the acronym P.O.I.S.D. meaning Parents of Incarcerated Sons And Daughters believes in helping those formerly incarcerated with creating a better future for themselves despite what’s happened in their past.

The founder is Leslie Sutter.

“In 2018, my son Dylan was sent to prison at 20 years old,” she said.

As a mother of a son who was incarcerated she wanted to find others who were going through the same thing she was.

“I kind of felt alone like who will talk to about this. I had a limited amount of friends and family that could kind of understand and maybe not be judgmental,” Sutter said.

In 2020, she created P.O.I.S.D for families to support each other and find resources for their loved ones once they’re released.

“Even though he made really bad decisions I’m his mom of course and I just would never give up on him. So, I was just searching, what’s out there, you know when he comes home,” Sutter said.

P.O.I.S.D has partnered with Elocina Consulting to help with the rehabilitation process by pushing the importance of entrepreneurship.

“Fear of failure is much less of an issue for them. No stranger to taking risks. And they actually understand that the stakes are high. And these are all the same qualities that entrepreneurs that don’t have a criminal background have,” Towanda Burks, Elocina Founder.

Burks is teaching business planning skills to people formerly incarcerated on Saturday.

“A lot of focusing on understanding where the participants are in the class its self and how to move them to that thought to open their business really or the steps that needed to move forward,” Burks said.

In addition, P.O.I.S.D has a partnership with Anytime Fitness to allow for a one-month free membership, at either of the two Rochester locations.

“It’s a great place to be and it’s a healthy place to be so to get your mind in the right mindset. And then move on and when your out of maybe that halfway house or on your own. That’s a nice healthy thing to continue ongoing,” said Matt Jewison, Anytime Fitness owner.

Both the entrepreneurship class and the access to the fitness center are ways P.O.I.S.D commits to helping people move towards something positive despite a criminal record.

“If people are getting out of prison and they don’t have opportunities and they end up going back in the lifestyle that they were in previously and they end up going back to prison that’s going to cost us more money as a community,” Sutter said. “I strongly believe that the mistakes you have made in the past should not hinder your future. One of our organization values and we have three of them is accountability, resilience, and love.”

The Intro To Business Entrepreneurship Class for Formerly Incarcerated is Saturday, Dec. 4 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. It’s located at 1903 Broadway Ave So.

Click here to register for the class.

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