Norman Mason was recently honored for turning his life around with the help of Playa Vista Job Opportunities and Business Services (PVJOBS), a nonprofit that places members of the at-risk community in construction-related jobs. Mason accepted his “Participant of the Year” award at the PVJOBS recognition luncheon with his son, Norman Jr.

“Since I reached out to PVJOBS, I have had a lot of opportunities,” Mason said. “I drive down the freeway and I tell my son ‘I built that, boy,’ and he’s like ‘Dad, man we need to go up there.’ I can tell that he’s proud of me.”

The keynote speaker at our event, California Senator Holly J. Mitchell, spoke about her years of perseverance to pass bills in Sacramento. “But it’s not just about policy, it is also about practice,” Mitchell said. “It is about how we encourage employers to hire men and women with records…it is about how we re-think our own bias to have a more complete and nuanced understanding of people who have been touched by the criminal justice system. Rebuilding a life after release is challenging, but we all benefit when more individuals like Norman Mason remain with their families, get jobs and rejoin our community.”