Read updates on COVID-19 and Advocates.

Michael & Nathan: Reentry


Healing old wounds and helping a father and son reconnect.

For a local father and son, an unexpected opportunity to witness the Red Sox win the World Series at Fenway Park in 2013 helped heal old wounds in their long-troubled relationship. Michael , a 53-year-old veteran and resident of Worcester, was the lucky winner of two tickets to the game offered to Advocates clients. The tickets were donated by Krokidas & Bluestein LLP of Boston. Michael jumped at the chance to bring his son, Nathan, 27, also of Worcester.

“I made a lot of mistakes with my son, and there is a lot of healing that needs to happen,” Michael said. “But this experience allowed us time to bond and experience the greatest game in the world, together, as father and son.” The historic game was their first at Fenway Park.

Michael participates in the Worcester Initiative for Supported Reentry (WISR), a program led by Advocates and funded by The Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts. With support from the program’s staff, he is working to rebuild his life after decades spent struggling with a drug addiction that ultimately landed him in prison for five years. Now Michael is living in the community, working full time, and is active in his church. He’s also striving to repair the damage he caused when he left his family twenty years ago during the throes of his addiction.

When Michael joined WISR last year, the staff connected him with employment, treatment services, and housing through Veteran’s Inc. “We know that 95% of the people who are in jail and prison are going to return to the community, and WISR helps those people change their lives for the better,” said Opal Stone, WISR program manager. “Without housing and employment, people cannot become productive, contributing members of society. WISR helps clients achieve independence so they can succeed, which in turn helps keep our communities safe.”

Nathan was broken-hearted when his father left twenty years ago. “When my son was seven years old, I promised him a train set. I worked for Amtrak at the time and he was fascinated with trains. I never bought him the train set, and years later he told me how much that and leaving the family hurt him,” said Michael. Now he hopes their once-in-a-lifetime experience at Fenway will begin to make up for the train set and the years of broken promises.