DadTalk Blog: Charting Impact with Center for Self Sufficiency: Stories from the Field

Charting Impact with Center for Self Sufficiency: Stories from the Field

Change is inevitable. But, with the right support system, positive change can occur.  

Justin Calabrese made a commitment to turn his life around for the better. With the support of the Center for Self Sufficiency (CFSS), he is making good on his promise. 

While incarcerated in a correctional facility just south of Milwaukee, Justin met his mentor, Tarvus Hawthorne through the CFSS Project 180 program.  This is a federally funded program that works with offenders before they are released from jail or prison to develop a plan for successful transition. 
Through this unique program, Calabrese was given the assistance he needed to overcome many of the common challenges of transitioning back into society, like finding gainful employment and housing.  

“I could tell from our initial meeting that Justin was serious about turning his life around and doing things differently,” said Tarvus Hawthorne. “His commitment to his post-release plan and reestablishing himself as a positive influence in his children’s lives was inspiring for me, and I wanted to make sure, as his mentor, he was given all the support he needed to be successful.”

The father of young children, Calabrese hadn’t been involved in their lives due to his incarceration.  The Healthy Relationship classes helped him identify the most effective way to connect with his children’s mother to work on a successful co-parenting relationship with her.

Currently, Calabrese is employed and obtained housing.  He invited his children’s mother to attend the healthy relationship classes with him.  Together, they have worked out a peaceful co-parenting relationship for the benefit of their children.  He is also enrolled in classes to earn him his HVAC certification. 

“Working with this program, … I became aware of the changes I needed to make in my life to be successful as a father and a job candidate,” said Calabrese.  “Unless you change the way you think about things, you really aren’t able to make necessary positive changes.”

Learn more about the Center for Self-Sufficiency at

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families Office of Family Assistance

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The Office of Family Assistance (OFA) promotes stability and economic security for families through various programs, like the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, the Tribal TANF... More about this author

Charting Impact with Center for Self Sufficiency: Stories from the Field

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