Second Chances season 2 episode 1

Kim Drobes
Second Chances | season 2 episode 1

EDWINS Leadership & Restaurant Institute in Cleveland, Ohio, educates people like no other establishment.

How the EDWINS Institute is changing lives

Brandon Crostowski founded EDWINS to teach formerly incarcerated people the skills necessary to run a fine dining restaurant. His philosophy of second chances has led to an incredible recidivism rate of less than 1% for the graduates of the program.

Recidivism refers to a person’s relapse into criminal behavior after being released from incarceration. To give you an idea of just how amazing a rate of less than 1% really is, consider the fact that within three years of release, about 68% of released prisoners in the U.S. are rearrested.

The EDWINS institute gives Crostowski’s students a path beyond what is often offered to those reentering society from prison. This non-profit program lasts six months and is free for the 60 to 70 students being instructing at one time, according to Chief Operating Officer and Director of Culinary Gerry Grim.

Students also have the opportunity to live on the EDWINS Second Chance Life Skills Center campus while they are in the program and following their completion – until they are ready to move on.

The Life Skills Center currently employs a graduate of the program, DeAnthony Harris, who serves as resident advisor. He oversees the center, the dorms, and the alumni house, but says he values his connections with students most. EDWINS’ success demonstrates how empowering the disenfranchised benefits the individuals it touches as well as the surrounding society.

Learn how EDWINS came to educate so many formerly incarcerated people on this episode of the Empowerment Zone.

See more from The Empowerment Zone here.