2020 Year-End Update: Covid-19 Impact

The pandemic made 2020 a challenge for everyone and TRY was no exception. As an essential social service our staff and participants persevered through heavily modified operations to keep our doors open all year. Now that we have made it safely into 2021, we want to share an update on how we made it through and are stronger than ever. 

Back in March 2020, all operating procedures were modified to maintain a safe/healthy environment and keep men from sudden homelessness and/or relapse, both of which can increase vulnerability to the virus. While TRY’s normal staff-to-participant ratio for Peer Recovery support and Employment Skills Training programs is 1 staff to between 5 and 15 participants, our COVID-19 ratio was 1 staff to 1-3 participants. These new protocols put a strain on our staff capacity, as everyday activities took up to 5 times longer to complete. To counteract this strain, every aspect of programming had to be scaled back. Over the months, we were able to slowly shift operations back towards normal, this eased strain while maintaining safety.

With all the added precautions of quarantine upon intake, telehealth, and limited group activities, we celebrate that none of our participants have been infected. While a couple of office staff tested positive, they were able to isolate, prevent spread, and fully recover at home. Under congregate living of Phase 1A, staff and participants have received vaccinations as coordinated by the County of Summit ADM Board and Summit County Public Health.

  TRY ended 2020 financially healthy thanks to support from our community and government. The generosity of individual donors, the special community relief grants, and the Federal and State stimulus funds (including the Paycheck Protection Program forgivable loan) helped us stay fully funded and covered pandemic related additional costs. 

Thanks to the hard work of our staff, training is now back to 100% and some group activities have reengaged. Three participants who excelled at and completed the Leadership Development program last year, were hired early this year. We thank God for the wisdom and strength that got us through 2020 and are excited for what we see happening in 2021.


Truly Reaching You



Warehouse Renovation Progress

See the previous update here

This time last year, we were working to raise enough funds to replace the leaking roof on our newly donated warehouse. Thanks to our partners and generous donors, the space has transformed into an active hub for our Employment Skills Training Program.

Check out what what’s been accomplished since July: (pictures below)

The dysfunctional garage doors and man door have been replaced, with an added benefit of improving the exterior appearance. All new energy efficient lighting was installed with motion sensors for each section. Commercial metal racking and custom built wooden racks were built to maximize storage. A forklift was very generously donated and has already been used to fill the racking with organizing bins. A 60 gallon, flammable materials, storage cabinet now safely stores gasoline for the lawn equipment. Permanent posts and removable railing were installed along the west garage bay for the safety.

All this and we’re just getting started! Our architect partner is drawing up plans for the next step, which includes new bathrooms with showers, a locker room, and meeting space. Read More

TRY’s 20th Anniversary Celebration

On October 24th 2019, we celebrated the 20th Anniversary of Truly Reaching You. To everyone who joined us that evening or supported us over the past 20 years, we thank you. 

Photography by: Dana Elizabeth Photography

Perry’s Story

My Story
By Perry Clark, Founder and President of Truly Reaching You

My 5 children visited me on the inside

I spent ten years of my life (from 1987 to 1997) “on the inside,” for mistakes I made as a young man. During this period of deep self-reflection, I developed a greater appreciation for freedom and the truly important things in life. Guided by a strong sense of faith and self-discipline, I made a commitment to become a better son to my mother, a better brother to my siblings, a better father to my children and a good neighbor to the people in my community.

During my time “on the inside,” I was also greatly impacted by the opportunity to lead a team of men in a vocational training program. Over the course of three years, our team rehabilitated 11 homes as part of a community service project in the Mansfield area. This program gave me the opportunity to build a foundation of skills and leadership that has guided my work for years.

Read More

A New Season, a New Board Chair

As we celebrate our 20th Anniversary, we look forward to a new season of growth and change. Last month, Chuck Rankin stepped down from his position as Board Chair after ten years of dedicated service. Jerry Fiume, Vice Chair since 2015, has taken on the role and responsibility of leading TRY’s Board of Directors.

Jerry is the Managing Director of SVN Summit Commercial Real Estate Group, LLC and an active member of the Akron community. You may recognize his name from the blue and orange signs all over the county. We asked him a few questions to share with you his passion for TRY’s mission.

Read More

Raise the Roof: Phase 1 Update

Our Raise the Roof project is the renovation of a 12,800-square-foot commercial warehouse located at 180 E. South St. in Akron.

Exciting progress is being made on the warehouse!

Along with our booming lawn care service, we continue to make progress on the warehouse.Read More

Larry: from Train Wreck to Blessed

Randy and Larry in late 2010

“Living in my truck. Failed at everything I tried to do in life. Failed as a father, brother, son, employee, and friend. An alcoholic searching for a better life but didn’t know what direction to go. The TRY program got me in the best shape ever mentally, physically, and spiritually. Looking back, any rough times in the program were because I made it rough not the program. I volunteer as much as I can, other things prevent full time employment. I own half a house and rent out rooms to others in recovery (Using some of the rules from the program). Relationships with family and friends are better now than ever before.”Read More

Finding Hope with Help

When you feel powerless, hopeless, helpless, and alone . . .
TRY is here to help you find solutions with God.

This phrase is printed on the back of t-shirts all participants and training staff are given to wear while working. But it’s not just a phrase, the stories shared by former participants perfectly illustrate how there is always hope, even when all seems lost.

When you feel powerless, hopeless, helpless, and alone . . .

Larry: “Failed as a father, brother, son, employee, and friend. An alcoholic searching for a better life but didn’t know what direction to go.”

Rick: “Before going into treatment I was lost. I was so deep into my addiction that I had no hope.”

Jim: “I found myself behind bars. That being said, my future was bleak at best.”

Randy: “I had destroyed any relationships that had any meaning. I was trapped in a vicious cycle of drug & alcohol addiction, spiraling out of control.”

TRY is here to help you find solutions with God.

Larry: “Relationships with family and friends are better now than ever before.” He is now a homeowner who rents rooms to others in recovery and plays guitar in the worship band at church.

Rick: “From the first day I entered TRY I had a sense of hope that I hadn’t had before.” He has made helping other men find hope his career as TRY’s Recovery Manager.

Jim: “Through TRY I met business contacts which brought me to the job I still have, which is a department lead working with government I.T. equ.” He is also on the leadership team at his church.

Randy: “Many of the relationships that had been destroyed due to my confusion have been restored, or are being restored.” He now helps other men break the cycle of addiction as a manager of TRY’s Employment Skills Training program.

Stories like these keep us going, because they show that TRY works!

Questions? Something you want to know more about? Let us know!

Our new clothing closet!

Most men who come to TRY have only the clothes on their back or just one bag of personal possessions. As a part of providing all their basic needs, we make sure the men have the shoes and clothing for work, classes, church, and job interviews. (To learn more about why TRY supplying basic needs is important, check out this previous post)

While we dreamed of a fully stocked and organized clothing closet, our current office doesn’t have the space. So, a shopping trip to Walmart consumed a couple hours of staff time with each intake. Our new warehouse and an influx of donated clothing meant it was time to make the dream of a clothing closet ‘store’ a reality. Only one thing stood in the way . . . sorting and organizing the ever growing mound of donations.

Thanks to United Way of Summit County’s Day of Action and the incredible volunteers from Summit County Probate Court the job is DONE!

Read More

Happy Father’s Day!

Today we celebrate and support our “new” dads!

For 20 years (this year!) Truly Reaching You has been successfully reuniting men with their families. This is an essential element of our mission and ministry, made possible by YOU.

Your support has allowed TRY to build a highly effective program that helps men reenter community in a healthy way, after years spent in prison cells or in the chaos of addiction — or both. TRY provides the tools they need to maintain sobriety, to prepare for (and gain) employment, and importantly, to rebuild relationships — especially with their children!

Pictured below: Our founder, Perry Clark, poses with his children during a visit in 1994 while he was serving 10 years “on the inside”. Now, 25 years later, he enjoys spending time with family and playing an active role in the lives of his grandchildren.

This Father’s Day we celebrate men in the TRY community who are enjoying healthier relationships as a result of our reentry program, as well as those currently working to restore them.