DOBSON — The second resource fair hosted by Surry County Community Corrections built upon the success experienced at the first event.
At the fair, about 30 agencies gathered from throughout the region who may address different life needs but all share the same goal: helping folks get back on their feet after they’ve had a brush with the legal system, putting them in easy contact with those who might need a boost in that direction.
A relatively new concept developed by Surry County probation officers Whitney Bennett, Sunday Joyce and Sheila Myers, the first resource fair was successfully held in January.
The most recent event was held Tuesday afternoon in the Surry Community College gymnasium.
“I’m pleased,” Joyce said. “It’s about the same turnout and resources as last time.”
Moving the fair to the larger venue facilitated the kind of networking at which the event is aimed.
“It’s good that we communicate with each other,” said Mary Boyles, executive director of The Shepherd’s House shelter, who noted the Mount Airy shelter works closely with the probation office.
“It’s all about those partnerships,” she said. “They kind of make the successes that much better, make it a lasting success. I think we’re united to make a difference in people’s lives. It sure does help having two people work towards it than one anytime.”
Though the free event was developed with offenders on probation in mind, who often face numerous barriers to success, it is also open to the public.
“We’ve seen a lot of people from the general public,” Myers said. “It’s been a great response.”
Lisa Tate left with a swag bag full of material to share with her family.
“I got some good information,” Tate said. “A lot of the different resources I never knew about.”
Jeff Stanton, business development director from Hiring Line Inc., which is based in King, identified one glaring obstacle to employment faced by many probationers.
“Some of the issues that some of the people are having to deal with is their criminal history,” he said, adding that some employers are more lenient in that regard while some “draw the line in the sand.”
He explained that his company was established with goals beyond the bottom line.
“We’re really trying to provide a service to the community,” he said. Some clients might need assistance filling out online job applications or finding a job with a criminal history.
“We can get you in front of somebody,” Stanton said. “We just trying to help people get a second chance.”
At the resource fair, “we hope it comes across that we’re really trying to help place them.”
Reach Terri Flagg at 415-4734.