Kids Second Chance: Building a Solid Foundation for Our Youth
Throughout the Gospels, Jesus’ called for us to turn away from sin, and to come and follow Him. His message was for a radical change of heart and that He was the source of true happiness and fulfillment. The examples of His call range from calling the rich man to give away His possessions, to calling St. Matthew from his sinful tax collecting ways, all the way to converting the good thief on the cross. One of the key themes is that it is never too late to change your life and follow Christ. Even as the thief was dying beside Jesus, He was more than willing to extend His love and forgiveness.
This call to a radical life change is one that parishioner Shane McDermott experienced very dramatically in his own life. And thanks to his answer to this call, he has started an organization that offers resources to children and families looking to answer that call of change in their own lives.
Shane grew up in a broken home and his life quickly got on the wrong track. He began abusing drugs and alcohol during his teen years, running away and breaking the law. Eventually, he ended up in prison for 10 years. After that, he worked extremely hard to start a new life. His goals were to become a better man, go to college, get a job and eventually become a husband and father — he succeeded in reaching all of these goals. He also obtained two unconditional governor’s pardons. Now he is focused on providing the resources that he didn’t have to help others achieve these goals.
“Kids Second Chance is about getting in front of kids before they start going down the wrong road,” Shane says. “We try to get in front of them and mentor them. We try to show them how their choices affect them for the rest of their life. These consequences can be really bad or really good, so we are focused on building solid foundations and getting them through their teenage years.”
This community-based organization is entirely free and provides mentorship, lectures, education assistance, counseling assistance, job placement assistance, and religion and prayer groups.
Shane McDermott with his children, Courtney and Christopher, and his wife, Jennifer. Shane and Jennifer are active members in the church and school community.
For Shane, his ties to his Catholic faith are a key part of his ministry and what has made him the man he is today.
“My relationship with Christ has always been strong,” he says. “Even through my incarceration, I didn’t fall away from it, but I actually had more time. My faith kept my mind focused on where I wanted to be in life.
"My faith is part of what brought me out of my deepest darkest days. In the end, having faith in God let me know that there was something out there for me. My family, friends, and the justice system let me down, but Christ was always there for me and my faith never wavered. And that is why I am where I am."
“When it comes to Kids Second Chance, I wanted to make sure my beliefs were embedded in the ideology of this organization,” he adds. “I have to make sure the message I present is the correct one and not just based on my experiences. My faith is part of what brought me out of my deepest darkest days. In the end, having faith in God let me know that there was something out there for me. My family, friends, and the justice system let me down, but Christ was always there for me and my faith never wavered. And that is why I am where I am.”
The Catholic Church teaches that God gives dignity to every soul — this is not something to be earned or lost. Organizations such as Kids Second Chance live out this mission of providing dignity to every human being. Love, forgiveness, and hope are things that cannot be forgotten when upholding the dignity of all.
Shane and his wife, Jennifer, are active members in the church and school community. He has been involved as an adult leader with Young Life, served as a substitute teacher at the school for many years, and is largely involved with St. Francis Hills and the Boy Scouts organization.
If you would like to learn more about Kids Second Chance, visit their website at kidssecondchance.org.