Now Reading
CEO of The Program finds fulfillment offering ex-offenders a second chance

CEO of The Program finds fulfillment offering ex-offenders a second chance

  • AliceAnne Frost gave up a lucrative career to help ex-offenders restart their lives. She doesn’t regret it for a moment.
  • ¿Quieres leer esto en español? Haga clic aquí.

AliceAnne Frost had a full-time job as an accountant and a solid future with opportunities for advancement.

In 2017, though, she gave it up to become CEO of The Program, It’s About Change, a nonprofit focused on helping ex-offenders get back on their feet after leaving prison.

“It was scary to quit,” AliceAnne says, “but in my heart, I just wasn’t fulfilled.”

Setting up shop in York

At the time, The Program, which was founded in 1979 and based in Harrisburg, didn’t even offer health insurance to its staff.

But AliceAnne had been volunteering there since 2015 helping with the nonprofit’s accounting, and she knew joining the organization was the right path for her.

Shortly after becoming CEO, she realized that many of her clients were traveling up from York. In 2019, she helped The Program open its York office, which meant ex-offenders could now meet their case managers, attend parenting classes, or work on finding housing and jobs closer to home.

‘Someone to believe in them’

AliceAnne found her inspiration in her father. Throughout his career in criminal justice in Pittsburgh, he helped countless youth leaving the juvenile delinquency system reestablish their lives. They called him Pops.

When Pops got sick, some of those he’d invested in returned to help mow his lawn and take care of his house. When he died in 2017, many of his former clients attended his funeral.  

“I saw the impact that he had had, and it inspired me to quit my full-time job and dedicate my life to giving people a second chance,” AliceAnne says. “They just needed someone to believe in them.”

She hopes that her work has the same long-term impact for those at The Program. A key part of that is setting up ex-offenders with mentors who have also been through the prison system.

“They’re the thread that keeps everything together,” she says. “They have the lived experience; they help our clients see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Living her passion

When AliceAnne considers why she chose to serve the ex-offender community, she draws upon her own love of home.

“People need resources, guidance, and hope to navigate their way back home,” she says.

Some of the clients she works with served 10, 15, or 20 years in prison. A lot has changed during their time there.

She loves seeing ex-offenders connect with the case managers who help them navigate available resources and the mentors who serve as their champions.

Through it all, AliceAnne has never second guessed her decision to give up a lucrative career and pursue nonprofit work.

“If you have a passion, go for it,” she says. “The community has really embraced this from all aspects. None of this would be possible without the community.”

Give Local York

The Program, It’s About Change will be taking part in this year’s Give Local York on May 6.