FROM THE FOUNDER
Candance J. Wesson
I am Candance J. Wesson, the founder and Executive Director of The Help KC. I am passionate about criminal justice reform issues particularly as it relates to eliminating and or reducing sentences for first-time, non- violent offenders. My goal is to create a support system for women of the ex-offender population to become whole again.
In 2012, I pled guilty to a first-time, non-violent tax crime and served eleven months in a federal prison and six months in a re-entry center. Since my release, I’ve worked with other non-profit organizations, small businesses, the community, churches and have become a passionate advocate for second chances for women with criminal backgrounds.
The Help is a vision which was revealed to me in October 2012 during my period of incarceration. I am the first person in my entire family to ever go to prison, therefore I am committed to turning a negative, dark blemish into something positive and great; The Help!
I intimately understand the many challenges and traumatic experiences of being incarcerated and what post- incarcerated people confront. Unknowingly, I was pregnant when I was sent to prison. During my eleven months, I was bounced around to three different institutions- receiving inadequate medical care, poor physical care, constant hunger, and deficient nutrition. Most Americans are unaware and would be appalled to understand how we are treating the incarcerated population. I walked out of prison determined to re-establish myself, only to be turned down by more than 20 employers for positions for which I possessed the qualifications.
It became very clear that my past mistake could overshadow my future and my ability to make a living for my family. I couldn’t allow this to happen because I am more than a label… more than a record…and have repaid my debt to society.
While I share a part of my story, there are millions of others who confront the same post-incarceration challenges. I decided it was time to HELP!