Josh knows just how important strong family ties are for prisoners who re-enter society. Many times, he sees young men come back to prison, because they don't have a good support system in place to help them get back on their feet. When Josh arrived at Warren Correctional Institution, he decided to join the Family is First Project. This program aims to strengthen family relationships. Family members meet on the outside, prisoners meet on the inside, and on a regular basis the two groups meet inside the prison to work on best practices as it relates to communication skills. When Josh completed the program at the end of 2015, he was invited to participate again the following year as an alumni. Josh was extremely glad and humbled to not only be invited back, but to also receive the opportunity to facilitate group discussions as an alumni. 

As an alumni, Josh has facilitated important conversations with other members of the program. At the end of October 2016, Josh and Steff celebrated his achievement as a group facilitator. He was awarded a 'Certificate of Achievement in Leadership and Facilitation' by pastor Stacie Johnson.  

The fact that Josh places a huge importance on his family relationships cannot be disputed. He enjoys spending time with his mom, niece, and soon-to-be wife. 

After having been together for more than seven years, Josh and Steff have plans to get married. They completed a pre-marital correspondence course together in order to work on a variety of skills. Although the two believe that they have a wonderful and strong relationship, they both know that there is always room for improvement. The two enjoy talking about the topics that this pre-martial correspondence course covered, such as personality scopes, communication, and financial management. 

Find out more about Josh's positive change behind bars by clicking on any of the green buttons below. 

Joshua's path to academic success was long and arduous. In ninth grade, Josh's reading and writing skills ranged from a 2nd to 4th grade level. Eventually, he dropped out of school. Since his incarceration in 2005, however, Josh received his GED and completed a Paralegal Program with highest distinction. He also completed a class through Xavier University, a program in Psychology and Social Work, and he is currently working on becoming a Canine Specialist. After that, he would like to complete an Associates and Bachelor's Degree through either Adams State University or Ohio University.  

So far, Josh has trained more than 40 dogs for 4 Paws for Ability, a non-profit organization in Xenia, Ohio. 4 Paws places service dogs with both veterans and children with special needs. Josh is responsible for potty training and basic obedience. He teaches the dogs to sit, lay down, give paw, etc. He also makes sure that the puppies get plenty of play time. In addition, Josh took care of several staff members' dogs when he was incarcerated at Warren Correctional.  

Besides furthering his education, building strong relationships with his loved ones, and training service dogs for children with special needs, Josh also participates in a wide variety of programs. Whenever the opportunity presents itself, Josh signs up for classes and programs that help him learn from and with others. Josh loves to engage with people who, like him, try to lead meaningful and productive lives from behind bars. 

In his free time, Josh likes to draw and create things out of a variety of materials (such as oil pastels, wood, etc.). He enjoys building jewelry boxes and other items out of popsicle sticks and cedar wood.

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