Digital Media Nonprofit Second Chance Studios Launches Inaugural Cohort in New York Serving the Formerly Incarcerated

NEW YORK, Oct. 12, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Second Chance Studios (SCS), a digital media nonprofit that trains and employs formerly…

NEW YORK, Oct. 12, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Second Chance Studios (SCS), a digital media nonprofit that trains and employs formerly incarcerated individuals, is set to launch its inaugural fellowship program later this month on October 25.

What started as an idea is now coming to fruition. We’re on the road to helping our fellows rebuild their lives.

The fellowship program received over 45 applications from returning citizens before hand-selecting the first cohort. To date, the organization has raised over $575,000 in funding from major gift donors, corporate contributions, and foundations — including a six-figure grant from Schusterman Family Philanthropies, a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised $60,000 in less than 3 weeks from 400+ supporters, and a corporate grant from Verizon.

«What started as an idea is now actually coming to fruition. The hard work of our amazing team and the overwhelming support of dozens of volunteers have made all this possible — from a physical space to more than half a million dollars in funding, we’re on the road to helping our six fellows rebuild their lives. It’s truly inspiring.» said Lajuanda M. Asemota, the organization’s Chief Executive Officer and Cofounder.

Second Chance Studios intends to capitalize on the success of Board Member and Cofounder Coss Marte, whose groundbreaking New York-based fitness studio and brand CONBODY proudly hires formerly incarcerated individuals as instructors and has achieved a rate of 0% of them returning to prison.

«It’s not enough to simply gesture at the idea of second chances, we must actively facilitate them. And after sixteen months of tireless work, I’m so heartened to witness Second Chance Studios doing just that,» said Natalie Papillon, SCS Board Member and Director of Strategic Initiatives at the Last Prisoner Project. «I’m confident the launch will not only spur life-altering positive change in the participants’ lives, but our model will help our country create more successful reentry programs going forward.»

The Second Chance Studios Fellowship Program teaches technical, life, professional, and soft skills to meet the needs of returning citizens to be reskilled for well-paying jobs in areas such as podcasting and video production, in addition pairing them with seasoned industry mentors. Additionally, the organization will work with corporate entities and media creators to both engage fellows in portfolio-building projects while they are in the program and provide full-time jobs once they graduate.

«With the launch of this fellowship, we have an opportunity to show what’s possible for returning citizens — to give them an opportunity to truly reenter society with a fair chance and the level of support they need. We hope and expect these fellows will be the first of many,» said Ravi Gupta, SCS Board Chair and Cofounder.

Additionally, the organization has begun working with corporate and community partners such as Housing Works, Women’s Prison Association, Grow with Google, Teach for America’s Reinvention Lab, Schusterman Family Philanthropies, Paylocity, BleacherReport, WeWork, and Verizon to support the professional development of the fellows.

«We are proud to support the work and mission of Second Chance Studios. Providing a motivated individual with the skills to attain gainful employment is at the core of what second chances are all about,» said Emilio Gonzalez, Executive Director for Public Policy & Strategic Alliances at Verizon.

For more information on how you can support Second Chance Studios, visit


Second Chance Studios is a nonprofit digital media company that trains and employs formerly incarcerated individuals. The program is built on three pillars: experiential learning, mentorship, and job placement, and the studio provides services for original content creation, video production, podcast recording, and digital advertising. The organization leverages the explosive growth in the new media industry to bring economic empowerment to returning citizens, their families, and communities.

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SOURCE Second Chance Studios