Persevere teaches coding and web design to former inmates in Memphis


Hope can be the algorithm behind a new future.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – When we make mistakes, second chances can mean anything.

That’s why a Memphis program called “Persevere” takes second chances to another level.

Sometimes it seems like a place like a prison can be where dreams end. But most of the time, that’s actually where they start.

“Once you get into the program, you become part of the Persevere family,” said Broderick Webster, Persevere mental health counselor.

This is where a change of perspective leads to an opportunity.

Roy Yates is on this path.

“In fact, I was in prison a few years ago. They would get away with it. Ms. Brooks did. She offered me a job in the classroom and I was like, “Hey, why don’t you take it”. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life, ”said Yates.

That decision was to join Persevere, a program that trains people involved in justice in coding and web design.

“Being able to offer individuals a rewarding career actually gives them hope, because so many of them have been marginalized for so long where they need a little bit of hope,” said Webster.

Hope can be the algorithm behind a new future.

“We will start teaching you computer coding and we will have a specialist who will help you find a job where you can continue working. This will be that bridge that you need, ”said Webster.

They partner with companies like Indeed and engage at-risk youth.

Allen Farmer is the Youth Program Coordinator. He sees the change in the participants.

“I notice a vulnerability in their state of mind, whether it’s being more open to talking mindfully or some of the adversities they’re going through,” Farmer said. “Teaching valuable skills for lasting wealth, lasting success for people who may not have a certain educational background or who can overcome a certain barrier.”

These obstacles are now in Yates’ rear view.

“I took the initial program in prison and was learning JAVA, HTML and CSS. We got certification in them, ”Yates said. “It’s good. This is the first time in my life that I have a career and not just a job. I don’t just fight for a paycheck every day.

What is your definition of persevering?

“Grind. Squeak. Push around. Never give up,” Webster said.

“Don’t stop when you are tired. Stop when you’re done, ”Yates said.

Together, they crack the code of what it means to move forward.

Learn more about the program HERE.

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