For so many reasons, all of this shouldn’t have worked out for Perry Clark.
He shouldn't have more than 20+ years of experience running one of the nation's most successful re-entry programs for me returning from prison.
Perry served 10 years in prison. When he got out, he faced all the burdens, challenges and disadvantages that come with a long prison stint – lots of reasons to fail.
But it has all worked out, for one reason: Perry Clark.
Born and raised in Akron, Ohio, Perry graduated from Garfield High School. His mission and his life’s work began after being released from prison.
In 1999, Perry founded Truly Reaching You, a ministry to serve men recently released from prison, to train the men in life and work skills, to assist in each man’s recovery and to help them find employment and new, better lives.
The living example, of course, was Perry himself.
TRY program participants receive counseling, spiritual support, food and clothes and toiletry items ($900 for each man), as well as transportation. They also get job training through TRY services in lawn care and landscaping, commercial cleaning, housing rehabilitation, hauling and construction.
Now there are six houses - homes to the more than 25 men who participate in the program at a time. And TRY has built a track record of overcoming the plague of recidivism that leads men back to prison.
“We teach self-reliance that sticks,” Perry says. “Every man who comes to TRY is another man with a better chance to stay out of prison and to be a father, husband, son and a valued employee — a better man than he was before.”Perry’s honors and achievements also include the Social Justice and Human Rights Award from Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. and the Glass Half Full Award from Akron’s GAR Foundation. He has served as coordinator for the Summit County Angel Tree program, for 10 years, and served on the boards of the Interval Brotherhood Home Addiction Recovery Center, Ohio Recovery Housing, Ohio Citizen Advocates for Addiction Recovery and the City of Akron Board of Zoning. He also is on the executive committee of the Summit County Reentry Coalition. And he was honored as the 1,000th graduate of Leadership Akron, as a member of Class 31.