Cornbread Hustle works to give previously incarcerated people and those recovering from addiction another chance through its Dallas staffing agency, and now, a software program.
Cheri Garcia is passionate about helping people get sober and hired through her company Cornbread Hustle.
After personal experience doing community service due to a DUI criminal offense, she knew that there could be a more efficient way to help those with drug and alcohol charges, which is why she created Cornbread Hustle’s software program.
“I had done a lot of prison work on teaching business plans and entrepreneurship, and as these guys were getting out of prison, I noticed that they needed a job—that was the first thing they needed,” Garcia told Dallas Innovates.
When she came across software from Virtual Recovery System Freedom 365, she proposed and established a partnership that now has the capability of changing the lives of those who have been incarcerated. Cornbread Hustle Powered By Freedom 365 Virtual Recovery System is free for people in her program to use. They have also developed partnerships with various companies so they can provide the service to their employees at no cost.
“HR departments are working with us to implement this to provide an anonymous tool for their employees if they need it,” Garcia says.
She recently worked with Judge Brandon Birmingham’s court, a felony district in Dallas County, to implement the Cornbread Hustle software through his courtroom.
“I purposed to him that we do a pilot program for defendants who are convicted of drug and alcohol charges to actually have the option to use the virtual recovery system and complete the program instead of doing community service work,” she says.
The app has lessons, tips, and is easy to navigate all in the hopes of helping people get a fresh start.
“This app is good because first it takes you through the first 28 days of ‘Hey, give the alcohol up for 28 days,’ and every day you log in and it’s a questionnaire and an education piece,” Garcia says. “So, you’re able to be self-aware and get educated in the comfort of your own home instead of the group setting your parole officer forced you to go to.”
Community service for a drug or alcohol charge is only for a certain number of hours, but this program provides 365 days of positive messages. The interactivity of the program helps to engage users and keep them accountable.
“The whole course has 365 days. You can log in every single day for 365 days and see something different because it has tips for someone every single day. It has AA [Alcoholics Anonymous] meetings, NA [Narcotics Anonymous] meeting information if you have a burning desire and you need to get yourself into a meeting or counseling,” Garcia says. “Also, the person who takes you all the way through your journey of the 365 days, he himself has over 20 years of sobriety and is a very successful entrepreneur. So, he relates to the person and talks you through from beginning all the way through your journey of getting sober.”
Garcia is referring to Brian McAlister, the founder of Full Recovery Wellness Center in New Jersey. McAlister offers advice to the program’s users through videos. Cornbread Hustle is working to change the way people get help and work towards their future by keeping the user in mind.
“It’s almost like an AA meeting in the comfort in your own home,” Garcia says.
Cornbread Hustle is still in the development phases of rolling out its program in the court system, but it is working to get the software in the hands of people who need it most.