10/14/2011 by Gina Baleria
Forward Thinker Fernando Jara helps former prisoners contribute
Fernando Jara knows what second chances are all about. He’s a high school dropout and at age 17 was already on parole.
Members of the community—teachers, clergymen—helped guide him to a better path. “They saw more than some Chicano tattooed kid with a criminal past,” says Jara.
So, instead of becoming a statistic, he worked to get his GED and pull himself up by his own bootstraps.
It’s this opportunity for a better life that drove him to co-found Rockhill Farms nearly two years ago.
“No one else was going to help these men who were once behind bars get back into society as thriving, moral human beings who would succeed.”
Rockhill Farms rehabilitates former prisoners in a sober living, drug and gang free environment. The program raises its own money through organic farming - the men grow their crops and sell them at a local farmer’s market.
Jara’s efforts have reaped great success. The men who have gone through his program are now productive contributors to society.