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His efforts and dedication to re-inventing himself did not go unnoticed by his fellow inmates and prison staff. While pursuing these resources, he was asked to speak publicly through the D.A.R.E. Program. Shortly after his release in 2005, Donnel gained employment as a construction supervisor with Habitat for Humanity. After a year of being out of prison, he was asked to go back and volunteer in the institution, teaching inmates valuable life-skills and de-escalating gang riots.

In the years since his release, he has worked with Young Life, a program aimed at disadvantage youth in urban areas and has also spoken at numerous high schools in northeast Ohio.

Donnel has recently developed a “reality check” program, which consists of transporting participants (18 and up) to Mansfield Correctional Institution, where they meet with inmates and correctional officers to have a group discussions about their life decisions and recognition of unhealthy life-cycles. Through this process, they identify with the inmates and make self-discoveries on how to deal with these life cycles.

Learn more about Donnel’s contributions