CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Days after his 18th birthday, Jesse Crosson was sentenced to 32 years in prison after committing a string of felonies. After being granted a pardon in 2021, Crosson has made the message of second chances his life motto.

“The main thing is I want people to know that their past doesn’t define them, and I want people to see that people who have gone to prison aren’t one thing. They can be complicated, but they’re not past the possibility of redemption,” said Crosson, the founder of Second Chancer Foundation.

Crosson began posting on social media to share his story of redemption and reach an audience of people who may be going through what he and his family went through.

“TikTok was the one that really gave me kind of a platform to share my story and share the issues of the system that people don’t know about,” added Crosson. 

As his following grew, Crosson saw the impact he could make nationally, and started the Second Chancer Foundation.

“People connect with stories, so the more we can share the stories of people who were formerly incarcerated or people who are making the best of their second chance, or organizations who are actually doing that, the greater chance we have of shifting policy and giving people an actual second chance,” added Crosson. 

The foundation aims to humanize the experience of reentry and drive both awareness and resources toward the process. 

“We’re raising money right now for a narrative project on the local community justice and restorative justice program. And we’re also working on a partnership with Cisco to do job training and job placement,” added Crosson. 

Crosson hopes our society can understand the challenges incarcerated people have endured, and aims to create a community that can accept all people’s journeys.

“People have gone through all these situations where fundamentally they feel like they’ve been forgotten or gotten lost and they don’t know a way forward, and all those people are just as deserving,” added Crosson. 

For more information on upcoming donation drives, or to get involved with Second Chancer Foundation, click here