Event for people with criminal records offers resources to get back on track

ROCK ISLAND, Illinois — QC Advocates for Second Chances teamed up for Resource Connection, an event that provides resources for people with criminal backgrounds.

"The revolving cycle of people returning to prison is not helping us, it's just increasing tax payer costs so by giving people meaningful employment, hooking them up with education and other options, it just benefits our entire community," said Sue Davison, Co-Chair of QC Advocates for Second Chances and Director of the Safer Foundation.

QC Advocates for Second Chances is a group made up of different community agencies that work to advocate for the needs of individuals with criminal backgrounds.

"A criminal record doesn't really determine, just like a person, the outcome or their future and what they're trying to do in life. It was just a struggle they went through at that particular point in time," said Christopher Watkins, 22.

Watkins is currently on probation for third degree theft.

"The reason I am here is because I made a bad decision. The goal for the future is start making better and brighter decisions about the steps I need to take in life, or doing certain things to prevent getting in trouble, really," said Watkins who lives in Rock Island and works as a carpenter in Milan. He says he is attending classes at Blackhawk Community College in hopes of one day opening a DTLR clothing franchise in the Quad Cities.

During the Resource Connection event on Tuesday, Watkins took advantage of getting a haircut, just one of the services offered.

The event offered Flu shots, HIV testing, blood pressure checks, and voter registration. Information booths on housing, health, education, veterans' services, job preparedness, substance abuse, mental health, employment, trades and apprenticeships set-up in the gym of First Church of the Nazarene in Rock Island.