After 10 years in prison, paying for his bad decisions and lifestyle choices, Antwane White agonized over time lost with his two children. “When you’re locked up, you can’t stop thinking where you went wrong in life, and how you’ll make everything okay again,” he explained. “But I had no plan, no escape from my old ways and I had my kids to think about.”
After his release, Antwane entered the Transition Center of St. Louis (TCSTL), where he enrolled in Fathers & Families Support Center’s (FFSC) 6-week transformational program for men and took his first steps toward responsible fatherhood. “I was willing to do anything to change who I was and to become the man and father my kids deserve.”
While residing at TCSTL, Antwane accepted challenges from staff to enhance his qualities as a man, father, employee and citizen in the community. Charles Barnes, director of community outreach, explained: “While in class Mr. White committed himself to the program from day one and seized the opportunity to break the mental and emotional shackles of incarceration and return himself to a life of normalcy. He took what he had acquired and proceeded on mentoring men in the facility, joining them in walking the walk together to achieve success in reentering society.”
Despite Antwane’s background and past, FFSC’s employment team, who builds relationships with local employers, found him a temporary job as a cook in 2019. A couple months later, he was hired full-time in an entry-level position at Faultless Healthcare Linen. Starting out on the wash line, Antwane worked his way up to a driver, making $11 per hour. After several months of proving himself to management, he was promoted to route specialist. His hourly rate climbed to $39.64 per hour.
Antwane has a 24-year-old daughter, 1-year old grandson and a 12-year-old son. “Today, Mr. White is active in his children’s lives and promotes healthy responsible relationships,” Barnes added. “He interacts with his daughter by providing love and guidance as she starts her road into parenthood and assists to provide stability in his grandson’s life by having regular interaction with him.”
Since his return into the community, Antwane has taken on primary custody of his son. He serves not only as a father to his son, but also a model of a responsible man who identifies the trials and tribulations of life, and how he can positively overcome those adversities.
At the age 43, Antwane continues to mentor other justice-involved individuals that reside in and out of incarceration. He encourages others to stay on course and keep focused, displaying examples of work ethics, family interaction and responsible citizenship.
“Antwane has truly come a long way in a short amount of time,” said Barnes. “FFSC’s Reentry Program at TCSTL helps prepare fathers like Antwane for success, including employment training and mentoring.”
Today, Antwane’s life is filled with family, spending time with his son, daughter and new grandchild: “My life now compared to my past is like night and day,” he said. “The way I communicate has changed, too! FFSC taught me how to talk to others and express feelings, which helped me become a better man and parent to my children.”