Perry Clark had an addiction to making easy money, which led to an early life of crime and a 10-year prison sentence. He vowed never to return to prison, and to help others in his situation to walk the path of professionalism, second chances and freedom.
Through Truly Reaching You (TRY) Ministries, Clark offers jobs in commercial lawn care, home remodeling and commercial cleaning to those residents returning from incarceration, along with helping them establish habits of professionalism.
On a recent day, Clark and his staff were talking to the father of a young man who will be coming home from prison soon. The father wanted his son to enter Clark’s program this time around. This would be his son’s third time trying to stay out of prison and attempting to begin a productive life.
This charge is one of Clark’s many, and he cautions the father to be realistic about his son’s hope for success, while also encouraging the father and enlisting him as an ally in the effort to stand strong for the sake of his son.
“I truly have a passion for what I do,” says Clark. “Our community doesn’t have to be the way it is. I think everyone is deserving of a second chance.”
Clark’s smile lights up his entire face as he discusses his work in the community. Truly Reaching You Ministries is his brainchild, and a program that reaches a number of residents to offer them a second chance.
Along with being active in Christ Community Chapel in Highland Square, Clark lives with his wife of 15 years, and he has five children and 10 grandchildren. He volunteers doing food distribution and after-school care, mentoring juvenile offenders and donating furniture and clothing to people in need.
Clark also is part of Leadership Akron’s class of 31. He shares the Allied Award with Dottie Achmoody of OPEN M for their work in partnership to benefit the Akron community.
He has a unique perspective that enables him to relate with those he helps. Clark was at one time incarcerated and credits Chaplain Frank Vlock of Mansfield prison who was his mentor for the final four years of his sentence. Clark said he fully understands the experience of people who have been convicted of crimes. His mind is never far from remembering what happened to him as a young man.
“We walked the same pavement,” he says. “We walked the same yard in a circle.”