Local Offers Second Chances to Marginalized Community Members

The Los Angeles community-based nonprofit 2nd Call does a lot for the people it serves, but for John "Big John" Harriel Jr., it all comes down to three words.

“It saves lives," said Harriel, a 25-year member of Los Angeles Local 11, which works with the organization to get its participants into the trades.

Started in 2006, 2nd Call works with at-risk residents from areas like South Los Angeles, Compton, Watts and Inglewood, neighborhoods that are often known more for poverty and gang violence than they are for turning out the next generation of tradespeople. Many have been to prison, but not all. Some are just struggling with other life issues, the result of growing up in an underserved community. It's where Harriel comes from, and it's one of the reasons he's so effective at working with 2nd Call's participants.

"I come from this world," Harriel said. "I've been to prison. I've eaten out of trash cans and slept in alleys before. With this work, you have to be authentic." Read More