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Nxt Chapter provides resources to Colorado ex-offenders re-entering society

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Posted at 5:39 PM, Mar 02, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-02 19:39:17-05

AURORA, Colo. — Nxt Chapter, a nonprofit located in Aurora is helping ex-offenders re-enter society by providing employment and housing resources.

“The Nxt Chapter is the path that connects you to success,” said Josephine Burton, Nxt Chapter founder and executive director. “I was struggling as an ex-offender to utilize my resources, because I didn't know where they were.”

Burton said she started Nxt Chapter three years ago to show her clients exactly where and how to get help.

“We will supply you with some hygiene products because that's the first thing. You have absolutely nothing. And then we would ask you what your needs are, what it is that you need. And once you go into that, we will connect you with all the resources for mental health. We will connect you with resources for employment. We will connect you with resources for vocational and educational training,” Burton said.

She said she understands the challenges of trying to start over.

“I struggled to get employment because of my criminal background. And so, I was struggling in the field of trying to get a job that would fit me and help take care of my family. And then it became to where sometimes during this situation, you have some mental health issues,” Burton said.

Right now, Burton and her team members work other jobs and volunteer their time to run the nonprofit.

“It's been kind of hard because we are an organization that funds ourselves. You know, we haven't been able to secure funding. So, we're pouring into the Nxt Chapter… We're working jobs outside of this to make sure we feed this because we believe in it that much,” Burton said.

Kenny Harris, Nxt Chapter’s youth director and group facilitator, said he was likely the first client of the organization.

"I had done a 10-year sentence in prison,” Harris said. “Society looks down on you when you get out of prison. They don't lift you up. So, it's easy to revert to the street life.”

Harris said Nxt Chapter works hard to make sure offenders don’t turn back to the streets.

“We're going into the schools. We're going into the prisons, talking to the individuals in prisons. We're going into the halfway houses now. We're talking to individuals coming out of the halfway houses. So yes, I mean, it's rewarding work,” Harris said.

Burton said seeing ex-offenders get back on their feet as result of their work is also rewarding.

“To realize that you were able to take all those steps to be able to put your life back on track is just amazing. You have to want it though,” Burton said.

Burton said for anyone re-entering society who is ready for their next chapter, her team will be there to help them turn the page.

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