Going Beyond Reentry – GTL Works With EDWINS Leadership & Restaurant Institute to Fund a New Playground for Children of Returning Citizens

By partnering with reentry-focused organizations, GTL helps provide valuable support and resources


Falls Church, Virginia (AccessWire) – December 2, 2020GTL, a trusted partner that connects those affected by incarceration with the resources and support necessary to achieve success, today announced its support for the services provided by EDWINS Leadership & Restaurant Institute. A Cleveland-based restaurant and training program, EDWINS offers a foundation in culinary arts and the hospitality industry to returning citizens.

But EDWINS provides so much more than just job training to formerly incarcerated individuals seeking a career in the food service industry. It has a nearby Butcher Shop and Bakery for additional training opportunities and offers students and graduates a support network for long-term success, including access to resources such as employment assistance, free housing, legal services, basic medical care, job coaching, literacy programs, and more.

A National Institute of Justice study found that within five years of release, more than three-quarters (76.6%) of released prisoners are rearrested. Since its start in 2007, EDWINS has graduated more than 400 individuals from the program and boasts an extraordinary 1% recidivism rate among alumni.

In 2016, EDWINS opened the Second Chance Life Skills Center, a 20,000 square foot campus with an apartment building for student housing. With the demand on the rise, they began a multi-year expansion plan with the purchase of a duplex, where not only students, but their spouses and children, have a safe place to live. Due to the nature and setup of transitional housing, it is often difficult for returning citizens to find safe, comfortable spaces that welcome children. With its family homes, EDWINS allows participants to take part in the training program while still living with their families. Transportation, childcare, housing, and more are just a few things that EDWINS students do not have to worry about, allowing a greater focus on pursuing their dreams and reinvent their lives.

In addition to student housing, EDWINS built a playground at the Second Chance Life Skills Center for the children of the returning citizens participating in the program. GTL and its employees stepped up to the task by raising over $7,000 to help fund this safe and family-friendly place for children to play and everyone to gather.

“EDWINS is a simply remarkable program in the heart of Cleveland,” said Matthew Caesar, GTL Executive Vice President, Customer Solutions. “They don’t just train returning citizens, they alter the course of their lives by providing numerous services that are often difficult for formerly incarcerated individuals to access. GTL supports numerous reentry initiatives across the country, and we are honored to assist this outstanding program in building a playground that can bring joy to returning citizens and their families.”

“Without GTL and the generosity of its team, the EDWINS playground would not be possible,” said Brandon Chrostowski, EDWINS Leadership & Restaurant Institute’s President, CEO and Founder. “They helped bring this project across the finish line and because of their support, the families of our students and alumni will have a safe place to play and gather right here on campus. We hope that this is just the start of a longstanding partnership as we continue to reimagine reentry together.”

Returning citizens face many barriers when trying to reintegrate into society. GTL supports reentry-focused organizations that guide formerly incarcerated individuals to success, help break down those barriers, provide the support to those that need it most, and work to reduce the recidivism rate.


About GTL

For over 30 years, GTL has worked side-by-side with correctional facilities and government agencies to provide imperative technology solutions to the populations they serve. These solutions facilitate meaningful connections, provide educational opportunities, enable successful reentry, and strengthen operational efficiency. GTL is headquartered in Falls Church, Virginia, with an employee presence throughout North America and provides solutions in support of 1.6 million inmates across the globe. To learn more about GTL, please visit www.gtl.net, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube.


EDWINS Leadership & Restaurant Institute provides formerly incarcerated adults with a foundation in the culinary and hospitality industries and the support network necessary for long-term success. Founded by Brandon E. Chrostowski, a 2016 CNN Hero and 2020 IFMA Silver Plate honoree, the Cleveland-based training program ensures that participants are equipped with basic culinary skills from its fine French eatery, Butcher Shop and Bakery & Diner. Employment assistance, as well as free housing, legal services, basic medical care, clothing, job coaching, literacy programs and more are offered. As the subject of the 2018 Academy Award nominated documentary, Knife Skills, EDWINS graduates nearly 100 students a year, with a 95% employment rate and less than 1% recidivism.

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