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Charles K. Hopkins

Peer Engagement & Advocacy Coordinator, Voices for a second chance

Charles K. Hopkins Is a 70-year-old African American Male. December 5, 2019, he was released from prison after serving 48 years, 9 months, 5 days, 16 hours, and 20 minutes.
Prior to being released from prison, Charles attended Coppin State College, leaving one-year shy of getting his Bachelor of Arts. He is a member of Toastmasters International, Rikers Debate Program, and graduated from the Georgetown Pivot Program.

Charles currently works for Voice for A Second Chance (VSC) as Peer Engagement & Advocacy Coordinator. One of his many responsibilities at VSC is coordinating a program called Train Our Voices, a program which teaches returning citizens how to advocate for themselves and for those in similar justice-involved situations. As a founding co-cost of VSC’s Solutions from The Yard podcast (SFTY), Charles brings his experience forth and shares insights from his years of incarceration. This, coupled with SFTY’s two other co-hosts’ histories and lesson learned and learning, allow this podcast to be a head of the pack when it comes to providing solutions for those facing reentry.

Michael Dickerson el

Peer Leader & Reentry NavigatoR, VOICEs for a second chance

Michael E. Dickerson El is a 53-year-old returning citizen who was incarcerated for 24 years in the Maryland state and federal correctional system. Upon his release, Mr. Dickerson El underwent home confinement for fifty days.

Once the fifty-day confinement was completed, Mr. Dickerson El was referred to Voices For A Second Chance to obtain his birth certificate. There he was invited to join Staying On Track, a virtual support group for returning citizens who were incarcerated for twenty or more years. Completing Stay On Track, Mr. Dickerson El was selected to join Train Our Voices, a 33-week curriculum that combines the education of advocacy and the illustration of using one's voice for effective community change.

Excelling at train Our Voices led to Mr. Dickerson El applying to and obtaining full-time employment with Voices For A Second Chance as Peer Leader & Reentry Navigator, where he assists in Case management, Tabling events, and Outreach, which he enjoys delivering meals to the homeless and also where he facilitated ongoing Stay On Track sessions, as well as Lessons in Law, a virtual support group where hosts and facilitators cover practical legal topics such as setting aside convictions, reducing terms of probation and supervised release, and obtaining a re-sentencing.

Most recently, Mr. Dickerson El became one of three funding hosts of VSC’s first podcast, Solutions from the Yard, where he, together with Charles Hopkins and Dietrich Trent, elaborate on the criminal justice system, equality for returning citizens, and much more.

In his spare time, Mr. Dickerson EL enjoys working out, spending time with family and friends, and enjoying his newfound life. Mr. Dickerson El's goal in life is to make his mark and impact on reentry for returning citizens

Dietrich trent

Community Development & Partnership Specialist, DC Central Kitchen

Dietrich Trent is a native Washingtonian, and former Opportunity Youth, who has become a pillar of hope to the people in his community. At the vulnerable age of 16, Dietrich was sentenced to 32 years to life, in prison. During his journey of imprisonment, Dietrich discovered self-empowerment and purpose. He attained his GED and an Associate Degree in Business Management from Williamsport Community College. Dietrich also became a Master Fitness Trainer, through the National Federations of Professional Trainers. He served over two decades of his youth in prison.  Upon his release, Dietrich positioned himself in the community to give back and help others.

Dietrich worked at L.A. Fitness as a Fitness Consultant and at the Department of Parks and Recreation’s Special Population: Health and Wellness Program.  Dietrich followed his passion for mentoring younger generations when he joined the Office of State Superintendent of Education DC ReEngagement Center in 2018. As an Outreach and Recruitment Specialist, Dietrich engaged Opportunity Youth, who dropped out of high school and needed assistance to enroll back in school and to complete their secondary education.

Dietrich is currently the Community Development and Partnership Specialist for DC Central Kitchen. DC Central Kitchen’s mission is to use food as a tool to strengthen bodies, empower minds, and build communities. Dietrich assists with the coordination of weekly engagement opportunities in the District’s most under-resourced communities. Dietrich also serves as a member of CORE DC’s Community Relations Board, which serves as a liaison between surrounding communities and CORE DC.
Dietrich continues to advocate for marginalized communities as a member of Voices for a Second Chance’s Train Our Voices program and as a founding co-host for the VSC podcast Solutions from The Yard. Dietrich has also shared his journey as a guest speaker at the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services’ New Beginnings facility. In 2019, Dietrich was a panelist for Raising Voices, with the likes of the Honorable David Trone and Dr. Bahiyyah Muhammad.



Jim Watkins

Paula Thompson



is a podcast hosted by three Train Our Voices graduates and will cover the many facets involving the impact of mass incarceration and the complexities of reentry.

Discussions center around but not be limited to trauma, homelessness, employment, mental health, and family dynamics. Our podcast will educate the listener on how to navigate the complexities of reentry and connect on existing challenges within the criminal justice system. Here, we will share authentic experiences with listeners on the impact of incarceratio

n and navigating life after release and beyond.

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