Our Story & Mission

sun and clouds

Our Story

A Brighter Way was founded by three friends with first-hand experience who faced the barriers and challenges of re-entering society from prison. They partnered with a group of citizens from the Washtenaw County Community and ABW was established in 2016. Every director since its inception has had a history of incarceration. Many of our mentors have also experienced the pitfalls and collateral consequences that our mentees encounter.

sun and clouds

Our Mission

A Brighter Way helps formerly incarcerated individuals living in Washtenaw County to build a stable, successful and fulfilling life. We support these returned citizens by forging strong relationships with our mentoring teams, community resources and committed advocates. The benefits are a richer community, reduced recidivism and increased public safety.

a formerly incarcerated released man with people at a brighter way who have offered support and community
A brighter way mentor and mentee - a person released from prison who found a new home apartment
sun and clouds

Our Vision

To foster a welcoming, stigma-free community in Washtenaw County that supports and engages all residents, including those who have experienced incarceration.

Equity and Anti-Racism Statement

A Brighter Way recognizes that the strength and vibrancy of our community is tied to a fair and equitable system of social support that seeks to elevate everyone as opposed to a select few. We recognize structural racism and other forms of oppression have contributed to persistent disparities, poverty, and generational trauma which we seek to dismantle one relationship at a time. In all our roles we will consciously work to eliminate injustice and inequity in order to realize a community where:

Members use their power and privilege to elevate the voices of those who have consistently been underrepresented in services and overrepresented in punishments; Past mistakes do not decide future trajectories; Gaps between races and ethnicities are addressed, consciously worked on, and ultimately eliminated; A criminal record is not a determinate of gainful employment, safe housing, or dignity as a community member; An equitable and trauma informed lens is utilized by all who engage in our services and our community.