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Iowan Starts Program to Help Offenders In and Out of Prison

DES MOINES, Iowa –A metro group is looking to give back by inviting local talent to take the stage. The founder of the group is planning a talent show for those twenty-four and younger. He's hoping to give people a chance to shine, just as others have done for him.

Robert Pate is getting used to his new job. "I love going to work at the Evelyn K. Davis Center. There's so much opportunity there," he said.

He started the gig last month at the Evelyn K. Davis Center for Working Families. Director Marvin DeJear said, "He'll be helping a lot with outreach to the community. He'll be helping us with our reentry program we have at our center."

Pate knows about reentry. He was released from prison in March of this year. "Got out of college, played semi-pro basketball and then hit the real word and found out, wow, times are tough. I resorted to selling drugs," he said.

Pate served 11 years for the drug charge. While in prison, he found his faith and a way to help others through his IMAGE Program. "It stands for Inmate Movement Against Gang Evolution. I started it in prison at Rockwell North Central Correctional Facility in Rockwell City, Iowa."

He's continued the program outside of prison with support from the community. "I was immediately drawn to the charismatic nature of his personality," said Emily Brown, Human Resources Business Partner UnityPoint Health Des Moines and a member of the Reentry Task Force.

Ben C. Bell Jr. with the YMCA Fatherhood Outreach Director said, “He just has a personality that is somewhat magnetic, and he's a charismatic guy. I think he can have a good influence on our city."

He's gearing up for a talent show at the Des Moines Social Club's Kum & Go Theater. He’s looking for about 15 acts to take the stage. "This is some of the stuff I've always dreamed about, so I wanted to make sure we were giving back to the community," said Pate.

"I think Des Moines is going to be truly impacted by what he is going to be doing here in the next few years," said DeJear.

The talent show is Saturday, October 20th at the Des Moines Social Club's Kum & Go Theater. You can find more information at www.image4lives.com.