October 12, 2022
Hagerstown, Maryland – Earlier this week, American Idea Foundation President and former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan visited Gatekeepers, a non-profit organization in Hagerstown, Maryland focused on motivating, empowering, and encouraging ex-offenders to successfully reintegrate into their communities and build fulfilling lives following their interactions with the criminal justice system.
In a roundtable with individuals who have completed Gatekeepers’ Business of Living program and with community supporters of the organization, Ryan extolled the positive impact that Gatekeepers is having on ex-offenders seeking to turn their lives around. Ryan was joined by Congressman David Trone (D-MD), representatives from the office of Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), a host of local elected leaders, and Maryland employers, all of whom understand how Gatekeepers’ evidence-based approach to reducing recidivism is making a tangible difference in the lives of others.
To watch a brief recap of the visit from DC News Now, click here.
After spending the day with the staff of Gatekeepers and program participants, Ryan said:
“There are 3 prisons and 1 jail around Hagerstown, Maryland so Gatekeepers is filling a real need in this community by helping people turn their lives around. They are helping people better themselves and helping to reduce recidivism. Their work matters.
“With Bill Gaertner’s leadership, Gatekeepers’ Business of Living program is showing individuals how to reintegrate back into society by focusing on spirituality, education, personal growth, and employment. Gatekeepers walks with these people every step of the way and the early evidence shows that their approach is working.
“It was amazing to hear the stories of transformation and of redemption. We’re excited to be working with Gatekeepers and Notre Dame’s Lab for Economic Opportunities to help validate and prove the Business of Living concept. Our goal has always been to identify programs with a track record of success, use data and evidence to support and validate their efforts, and then hopefully scale these successful interventions.
“Today’s event showed that Gatekeepers has the support of the community. We heard from employers, from faith leaders, and from local and federal officials who believe in Gatekeepers’ mission. Gatekeepers is doing the hard but necessary work to make a meaningful difference in people’s lives. They are keeping people on the right path and I am so grateful that the American Idea Foundation has been able to partner with them in this journey.”
Gatekeepers was one of a handful of organizations to receive a grant from the American Idea Foundation in 2022 and as part of their partnership with the American Idea Foundation, Ryan will continue to work with Gatekeepers to scale their program and deepen their impact through the use of evidence and data.