Making the best of second chances. That’s one of the goals of Erie’s Forgiven Ministries, whose also this week’s Loving Giving Local winner.

Forgiven Ministries is a Christian organization that helps men make the transition from prison back into society.

Its founders, Lillian and Walter Beatty, know what that’s like. They were both previously incarcerated. They say getting out of prison takes help.

“A lot of us that are ex-offenders and parolees kind of burned our bridges before we went in. And if it wouldn’t have been for someone helping myself and my wife get out of prison, we would still be there,” said Walter Beatty, Forgiven Ministries co-founder

Forgiven Ministries provides those released from jail: a place to live, help to find a job, community service work programs, life skill programs, prayer, discipleship and mentoring.

The ministry helps men with the two biggest obstacles to freedom.

“If you don’t have a place to go, then you stay in prison. That’s the key. And the other is employment,” said Lillian Beatty, Forgiven Ministries co-founder.

Forgiven hopes to expand its programs to help women but that will take additional financial support.

“We need more donations so we can get that women’s house started. There’s nothing here for women. It’s just sad. For men, there are places all over for men, but nothing here for women so it’s something important,” said Lillian Beatty.

The couple said Forgiven has a good track record of success

“We’ve helped 47 guys make that transition from prison. Only three have returned. That’s like a 97 percent success rate that this ministry has,” said Walter Beatty.

“For us to bring Loving Giving Local to Forgiven Ministries and to learn they’ve been in our community for over 10 years, and they’re helping men who get out of prison. Whether it’s helping them find a place to live or helping them with opportunities for jobs, the donation we bring today we know is going to stay right here in the community, and help with some of those bills, and that’s what Loving Giving Local is all about,” said Joe Askins, sponsor, Auto Express.

You can learn more about Forgiven Ministries, Inc. on their Facebook page.