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All I did while I was in prison was dream and imagine myself as an entrepreneur after imprisonment. I had business ideas, and imagination gave me drive.

Meet Hector Guadalupe, the Founder and Executive Director of A Second U Foundation, the nation’s first NGO that fuses the fitness industry & philanthropy.

From time to time I will highlight inspirational people and organizations I believe elevate our collective imagination for a better world.  Hector is one of those people. I’ve recently gotten to know Hector through my good friend Katie & I am deeply grateful for the exclusive interview he did for Raising Imagination.

While serving a ten-year sentence in federal prison, Hector studied fitness and wellness and desired to become a personal trainer, but there were no programs or support for reentry for formerly incarcerated individuals (but there was plenty of stigmas!)

Today, A Second U recruits, educates, and provides job placement for formerly incarcerated people in health clubs throughout New York City and has over 80 graduates of the program. Most impressive? 93% are currently employed, and 0% have reoffended.

When you talk to Hector, it is clear that the most critical aspect of a Second U is the built-in community and support system.

The full interview will be posted on the blog (coming soon!) where Hector answers questions such as “If you could reimagine the prison industry what would it look like What is hardest to imagine for someone coming out of prison? And What do you wish our readers would imagine with you, and what practical steps can you suggest for us to get there?” Stay tuned for our site launch!

In our next post highlighting Hector and @ASecondU, I’ll dive into the universal pitfalls of our prison system, and highlight additional organizations working to Imagine Comprehensive Prison Reform. For now, I leave you with a quote from Angela Davis:

“Prison relieves us of the responsibility of seriously engaging with the problems of our society, especially those produced by racism, and, increasingly, global capitalism.”

Is it possible to imagine a world without prisons? I believe so, but for today, I am deeply grateful for @ASecondU for bridging the gap between the corrupt and the possible.

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