The mission of JustDane has always been to inspire hope and create change at the individual level and community level. JustDane would not be where it is today without the wonderful people who participate in, and give life to, its programs. Tyrees Scott is one of these people. He is the embodiment of hope, change, and perseverance. Born in Chicago and raised in Madison, Wisconsin, Tyrees dealt with struggles while growing up, and as a young man he was incarcerated. Despite tribulations after his release from prison, Tyrees decided it was time to change his life around. He made a promise to himself that he would not end up incarcerated again, and he has lived up to exactly that.
Upon his release, Tyrees had a friend who worked for Just Bakery, so one day he went to visit the bakery to see for himself what it was all about. He was astonished to learn there is a program like Just Bakery that is dedicated to helping folks like him. It made Tyrees think, “I could do this”. In prison he had worked in the kitchen, baking for over 2000 people, so he already knew how to produce food in great quantities. When he decided to apply, he went in and met with Carmella (the Just Bakery Coordinator at that time) and he also happened to meet someone he hadn’t seen in 20 years. Right at that moment, he felt at home. He was accepted into the bakery program.
Tyrees then dealt with the struggles of having been out of school for nearly 10 years. Once he got over the initial challenges, the bakery curriculum became second nature. But towards the end of his program, Tyrees began to lose focus. It was people like his instructor Jackie who pushed him, and never let him slack off because she saw the potential in him. When he successfully passed his final examination, Tyrees went on to become a production employee at Just Bakery.
As Tyrees reflects on the Just Bakery program, he is grateful that he was accepted because it took him on a better path. Carmella became a friend, a mentor, and a support figure. The Just Bakery experience steered Tyrees into Support Recovery Coaching. He was able to support students, teach them, and feel like he was doing good for others. Tyrees wants individuals to take advantage of programs like those offered by JustDane. Eventually in life you realize that you have no more time to get in trouble.
For Tyrees, JustDane embodies accountability. He wants to do good for himself, for the organization, and for the community. Currently, Tyrees owns his own food truck and is a Peer Support Specialist at JustDane. He just finished probation, after 21 years. He is working extremely hard to accomplish all his goals. Today, Tyrees is able to use his lived experience to help people in all aspects of life. For that, he is thankful.