Tis the season for giving, reflecting, sharing, and believing in one another. It’s the time of year when we acknowledge our blessings, reach out to others and make plans for the future.
How appropriate that Five Keys, a nonprofit operating over 25 different programs in 14 counties throughout California has selected Stockton for their flagship furniture annex. The timing could not be better.
“We really consider this endeavor a social enterprise. It’s been months in the planning process getting buy in with stakeholders and meeting with community leaders,” said Dave Bates, who spent 27 years in law enforcement and is Vice President of Transitional Employment & Reentry at Five Keys.
Founded in 2003 by the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department to create educational opportunities in the county jails, Five Keys opened the first ever Charter high school for the incarcerated.
Since then Five Keys has become a nationally recognized non-profit that bridges equity gaps to create opportunities through education, housing and training. To date they have supported more that 25,000 at-risk and in-risk youth and adults in California.
The core foundation behind Five Keys is the belief that people need education, housing, recovery, employment and community to build and sustain their lives. For many it’s a tremendous effort of rebuilding.
“We are a second chance employer with over 600 justice involved/formerly incarcerated individuals in our workforce,” said Steve Good, Five Keys’ President and CEO since 2008.
Good says Five Keys’ vision is to offer people impacted by incarceration, trauma, racism, and poverty a comprehensive range of tools to live positive self-determined lives.
“These people, getting released from jail they need so much. They need emotional and mental health support to successfully re-enter society. Soft skills, training and retraining. We can’t expect them to just suddenly become an independent member of society. It takes time, education, and a formidable amount of support,” Good said.
Under Good’s leadership Five Keys has developed a vast network of partnerships to create pathways to college, workforce development, job placement services, transitional employment and housing for homeless and reentry populations. Stockton is now one of those vital partners.
According to Bates, for the past 14 months, Five Keys has worked in partnership with Cal Trans creating employment opportunities in Stockton. Five Keys determined they wanted a larger footprint in the Stockton area and were able to secure a grant to help them develop the Five Keys Furniture Annex at 611 West Fremont Street.
“We have partnered with a national luxury furniture brand that has a strong social conscious and believes in our work,” Good said.
The annex will feature thousands of new high-end brand items at 70%-90% off. The Stockton annex is located at 611 West Fremont Street an is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
“We’ve created a place where luxury advocates for social justice and will help fund our efforts to create a second chance for thousands and thousands of people,” Bates said.
This newly opened furniture annex will act as another pipeline for training and reentry, and will employ several formerly incarcerated people. One hundred percent of the sales will underwrite Five Keys’ programs.
“We are so happy to be in Stockton. This business will serve as a model for Five Keys. Our intention is to apply what we have learned in Stockton and open additional annexes in the Bay Area and L.A.,” Bates said. “For the people we support, working at the annex is more than a job. It will serve as a steppingstone, allowing people a second chance to turn their lives around, and become accountable, productive members of society.”