– Giving Convicts A Chance –
As part Colliers’ objective to strengthen our community, Colliers professionals are committing time and resources in support of The Other Side Academy (TOSA).
“People enter The Other Side Academy with broken spirits,” said Mary Street with Colliers International. “They come out “the other side” with hope and self-respect born from the unique way that TOSA tackles addiction through accountability, hard work, and peer group support. We think TOSA is so successful because their methods are congruent with their mission.”
The Academy is a training school in which students learn pro-social, vocational and life skills allowing them to emerge with a healthy life on “the other side.” The program is available as an alternative to those facing long-term incarceration as well those seeking a change from the life they’ve chosen in the past. Many of those who seek entrance into the Academy are convicts, substance abusers, or homeless. The school accepts men and women, both pre-and post-sentencing, who are ready to learn a new and better way to live their lives.
“The founders and leaders at TOSA know that to change the course of your life you have to start by taking responsibility for yourself,” said Mary Street. “TOSA does the same thing. TOSA isn’t funded by government programs, tax dollars, family donations, or insurance payments. TOSA is self-funded by the work programs and industries they operate. The students pay their way by showing up for work every day.”
“Everybody knows somebody who knows a drug addict. The Other Side Academy rebuilds lives. This is a multi-year program, two-year minimum. No money is accepted to support operations from any exterior groups such as government entities, insurances or family members. The program is self-sustaining.”
In addition to learning self-governance, students work. They contribute to the Academy’s bottom line. The Academy is self-sustaining because of the income generated by its various vocational training schools. These schools include The Other Side Movers, ranked among the top moving companies in the State of Utah, and The Other Side Thrift Boutique. Students work in these businesses, and in the process, learn marketing, business and trade skills. Whether a student cooks, cleans the Academy or runs the register at the Thrift Boutique, everyone contributes as a part of the team.
Among many opportunities to serve, Colliers recently provided Christmas at The Academy by donating care packages to the organization’s residents.
Speaking of the support Durocher said, “Colliers was instrumental in providing Christmas for individuals that had never experienced a Christmas before. Every student, about 90, was gifted approximately 10 new items of clothing I told the students ‘I want you all to think about this for a second. You have 100s of people supporting you that you don’t know and have never met before. When was the last time that has ever happened?’ It gave the students the opportunity to understand what giving is all about.”
“Providing Christmas to The Other Side Academy during the holiday season was an incredible privilege, but there are many more ways to assist this incredible organization further achieve its mission,” said Bill Street of Colliers. “We look forward to lending even more assistance over the coming months to individuals in need of our love and support.”
The Academy currently operates from Salt Lake City with an end goal to scale to every major U.S. city and bring with it a life-changing program for problems associated with homelessness, criminal behavior and long-term addiction. Denver will be the next city to experience the impact that The Academy has in the community.
“TOSA has doubled in size in the past year, and we expect them to continue growing,” said Bill Street. “The more students they have, the more employees they have to add to our community. We are helping support their efforts by helping them find additional locations for their commercial enterprises.”