Getting a Second Chance

One of the things I love about 4:13 Strong is that it is a program of second chances. Many of the men who come to 4:13 Strong are looking for a second chance, an opportunity to change the path that their life is taking. They enthusiastically receive the training and encouragement offered by the 4:13 Strong coaches, do their best to internalize it all, and then put it into practice.

Coaches talking with 4:13 Strong participant

Our expectations are high because we believe in our guys.

But it is a lot to take in. The pace we keep during the 40-Day Challenge is aggressive and the expectations are very high. Then things get even harder once the men begin working. The days start early, the work is physically demanding, the weeks are long, and the weekends are short. The thrill of the paycheck begins to wear off when the reality of how hard it is to save money sets in. The 4:13 Strong graduation requirements that once seemed easily achievable now feel distant and maybe even unattainable.

For most of the guys at 4:13 Strong, this is the hardest part of the program. After a few weeks of work the men begin feeling over-confident in their abilities and begin taking for granted the structure and discipline 4:13 Strong demands. The lure of the street life comes back and much of the risk and hardship that comes with that life has been forgotten. If a man is going to quit 4:13 Strong, this is when it is most likely to happen.

Guys in class listening to speaker

What happens if they leave the program?

After leaving 4:13 Strong, these men begin to appreciate what they have walked away from. They realize that things are much harder when they try to do them without the support of their 4:13 Strong brothers and coaches. They typically end up losing their job and falling all the way back to where they started. Fortunately, we will see many of these men again.

In any given class, we usually have one or two men who are coming back through 4:13 Strong for a second or third time. We love having these men back with us. These men are motivated and typically become leaders of their class. They are able to encourage their classmates through the tough days and the demanding activities with an authentic voice of experience. They have a much better appreciation for the things that 4:13 Strong offers and the opportunities that come from successfully completing the program.

Young man looking down in classroom

There is still hope and a second chance.

It is always hard to see a man give-up on himself and walk away from 4:13 Strong, but I know there is a good chance that I will see him again. And when I do, he will be better prepared to receive what we have to offer, and his chances of success go way up. Thank goodness for second chances!


Steve Norris
President, 4:13 Strong