“They honestly gave me the tools to be a better person.”

That’s how Kevin Christmas describes the impact of the Philadelphia-based non-profit New Leash on Life USA which is a prison-dog training program dedicated to improving the lives of inmates and saving the lives of those dogs.

New Leash was one of a number of groups some of our team members met inside Cause Village earlier this month at the Made in America Festival in Philadelphia trying to make the world a better place.

There’s something sincerely heartening when you encounter people giving of themselves to help others. In today’s society where we live among exclamation points instead of question marks, we want to share the stories of some of the social impactors who moved us with their efforts.

Below, you’ll learn more about the Reform Alliance which is working to significantly reduce the number of people under correctional control in this country.

We also met people from Defy Ventures who are providing what they call a “legitimate first chance” to currently and formerly incarcerated individuals by providing them entrepreneurial skills.

Back to Kevin Christmas who has become an evangelist for New Leash since he was released from custody on Feb. 24, 2016. He says he’s a better husband, a better father, a better friend and a better employee because he took care of a dog slated for euthanasia.

“I knew nothing about responsibility,” he said. “I knew nothing about accountability. But putting me in a situation where I was responsible for a life, an animal, and actually have to worry about this animal and care for this animal, it started to put things in a bigger perspective for me.

“All of the animals that come to New Leash are slated to be killed,” he said. “You say to yourself, ‘They threw you away just like they threw me away.’

“But now, we both have second chances. We basically rescued each other.”