Who We Are &
What We Do

We are an Arizona based 501(c) (3) non-profit organization that focuses on developing community betterment projects. GCHH mentors are carefully selected for their unique and diverse backgrounds. Our staff include teachers, former military and government employees, marketing professionals, entrepreneurs from a variety of industries, experts in information technology, published authors, photographers and contractors.

“We exist to free people from themselves...”

-Joseph Chiappetta Jr.,

Community Relations Director

More Than an Organization—A Mission

“GCHH isn’t just a nonprofit or an organization, it’s a mission. The vision for what that mission became started in 2004. There was a 22-year old man who slept in the lower bunk of my cell. He was crying in the middle of the night and it made me angry. He was getting out in 2 weeks and I was serving a 35 year sentence—what did he have to cry about?

I asked him why he was crying and he told me it was because he didn’t know where his mother was or how to find her. He’d been to prison twice. His childhood home was an empty place with little food or parental supervision. He got into drugs early because he didn’t know of any other way to cope.

After hearing more about this story, I told my family about this young man and we were able to locate the missing mother. When his mother found out that her son was crying for her in prison, something shifted in her. She came to the prison to pick him up and they were able to rebuild their relationship together. Today, he’s got a manager’s job and is married with children. He’s never gone back to prison.

The Revolving Door of Incarceration

A question formed in my mind. Why do people keep coming back over and over again to prison? I saw one glimpse in the young man’s story but wondered if he was just an isolated incident?

Prison is a microcosm of all the different kinds of people you meet in life. There are successful business people, doctors and attorneys. There are vagrants and homeless people. There’s everything in between. It didn’t matter how much money they had, how educated they were, most of them were stuck in the revolving door of incarceration.

The question haunted and angered me. At the time, I was coming to terms with my own problems and anger issues, and I knew I wanted to be part of the solution. I’d ask them, ‘What happened to you?’ There would always be the blaming of someone else or some uncontrollable circumstance.

All of a sudden it hit me—unrealistic sense of entitlement and expectations and no personal accountability. It was across the board, none of us had shown the audacity to hold a mirror up to ourselves and look at the part that we played and take responsibility. I had to do it for myself, and it was a frighteningly enlightening thing to see. 

You have to look in that mirror and take responsibility for what you see. You have to pick yourself up off the ground and ask yourself, ‘What am I going to do about it? Do I have the courage to believe that there’s something more out there for me?’

I found if you gave somebody a potential solution—just a possibility or a goal— and you gave them a glimpse of this often lamented four letter word called Hope, they’d see that there’s something they can do. They could find a job or a place to live—whatever it may be—and things would start shifting for them too.

It’s About Giving Them Hope

The vision of GCHH started crystallizing. It was about giving them hope, taking the next step, whether it be improving their communication skills, teaching them about business, or maybe even just giving them some math tutoring—something my partner, Najee, did a lot of.

One day a grant opportunity for providing disease prevention education came along. People just started coming together naturally to help others. This same group eventually morphed into certified facilitators, teachers, and mentors, becoming the founders of this organization on the inside.

These mentors would help with fundraising for charities, solving problems on the yard—whatever was needed. Najee probably prevented more riots with effective communication than a can of tear gas ever could.

Our mentors crossed racial boundaries to bring people together and stepped across the ‘red line’ to embrace the idea of working with staff because we were all one community.”

-Joe Chiappetta Jr.,
 
Community Relations Director

We do ask that you return one good deed with another and perform an act of kindness. This generous cycle of compassion and goodwill continues indefinitely.

Joseph McDonald,
Executive Director

Becoming a Better Version of Yourself

“GCHH isn’t just a nonprofit. It’s a vision that was started many years ago in a very difficult and desolate place. Joe C. and Najee discovered that their life was made purposeful when they helped other people achieve some sense of purpose in their life. We’re not talking about conceptual purpose.

We’re talking about tangible power of purpose for living. When these two men incarcerated with life sentences who were never going to see the light of day started introducing people to the successful strategies for freeing themselves, even in those difficult conditions, they themselves became free.

Eventually they walked out of that prison and a number of us who believed in that vision, joined that vision. We still firmly believe we have to meet you where you are and free you where you are at. It’s freedom of thought that allows people to walk freely in the world.

That’s what GCHH is about. GCHH is a vision of people helping people become better versions of themselves on an ongoing basis.

The Symbiosis Between Addiction & Reentry

One of the things that the chains of addiction has in common with the physical bonds of incarceration is a similar imprisonment. With addiction, you are imprisoned in limiting thoughts about yourself. So it doesn’t matter if you’re secured by walls and fences or by flesh and thought patterns, you are imprisoned in either one. 

We find in people who are incarcerated that they have both types of imprisonment going on—both chemical dependency and their other problems that have led to incarceration. If that doesn’t get addressed—if we don’t free them in there, they’ll never live free out here.

The goal of recovery is to awaken to your unique purpose and power. You learn to retell your story, overcoming or outgrowing the fears or limiting thoughts that prevent you from becoming a better version of yourself. 

I don’t really know how recovery works. I know there’s an innate goodness in every individual and we find a way to tap into that. It’s a one-on-one individual thing as individual as each of us. When I sit down with someone, I ask them, ‘What do you think is wrong with you?’ After they ponder that for bit, I point out to them, ‘There’s absolutely nothing wrong with you. You’re exactly as God intended, now when would you like to wake up.'” 

Joseph McDonald,

 Executive Director

GCHH is a vision and a mission of sponsorship, mentorship and peer-to-peer education with an emphasis on recovery, reentry & integration.

No Judgement Here, Just Love

GCHH is a village. They say it takes a village to raise a child. Well, it’s going to take a village to bring this community together and that’s our goal. We take a position of neutrality, as my comrade, Joe McDonald, would say.  There’s no judgement here, just love.

Even though I went to prison for 40 years for committing a crime, I didn’t whine about it. Everyone goes through situations in life that they have to overcome. If I languished in the bitterness of inhumane treatment, I’d still be in prison. I couldn’t enjoy and be grateful for the opportunity to help my fellowman.

The culture of the Department of Correction’s motivated me to change. I have no malice. I had time to mentor, to teach math and help people to better themselves which helped me better myself.

Just as we want people to humanize the inmates, we want to humanize the staff. The staff are human beings just like us. They have problems and situations just as we do. I didn’t look at brown and orange, I’d looked at the human condition. That was a big part of effecting change. I started where the world was, not where I wanted it to be.

I Can Have a Better Life Than This

My first thought after 41 years of incarceration was, YAY! Then I wanted to make sure to prepare myself to keep my word for the men and women coming out of prison.

I took an oath in the military to fight the enemy, foreign and domestic. We have a domestic issue here and I promised to fight it just like I fought when I was in Vietnam. I served in Vietnam and I am serving this cause.

One thing we have to develop is integrity. I’ve run into so many incarcerated men and women who just lost touch with the core values and principles they were raised with. They promised that when they got out, they were going to do this or that and they didn’t follow through. I didn’t want to be one of those people.

Once a person gets fed up and tired of living in a certain way, they’re ready to change. They’ll want to get back in touch with their core values and we support and reward people for that. Recovery is a big part of reentry. People have the misconception that we’re just talking about substance abuse, but there are many forms of addiction, mostly the way they cope with stress.

I used to facilitate a stress management class. I’d teach people stress is a natural thing. Athletes use it all the time, taking the body through a lot of stress to prepare for the task at hand. What matters is how you manage stress. When people understand this, they know what to do. They’re okay.

Many people need to forgive themselves for making a mistake. This is something we’ve uncovered. They haven’t asked the people they hurt to forgive them. Without forgiveness, it’s like trying to fill a hole but you don’t know what to fill it with.

It’s also about having a conversation, being there for someone, listening to their stories. A lot of times people have been through so much trauma in their life, you can’t imagine how freeing and liberating it is for a human being to be able to just get it out.

Some people call it an epiphany. I don’t care what you call it, just that you realize, “I don’t have to live like this. I can have a better life than this.” 

Mukhtar Bilal Najee-Ullah,
 Adcovacy Director

No Judgement Here, Just Love

GCHH is a village. They say it takes a village to raise a child. Well, it’s going to take a village to bring this community together and that’s our goal. We take a position of neutrality, as my comrade, Joe McDonald, would say.  There’s no judgement here, just love.

Even though I went to prison for 40 years for committing a crime, I didn’t whine about it. Everyone goes through situations in life that they have to overcome. If I languished in the bitterness of inhumane treatment, I’d still be in prison. I couldn’t enjoy and be grateful for the opportunity to help my fellowman.

The culture of the Department of Correction’s motivated me to change. I have no malice. I had time to mentor, to teach math and help people to better themselves which helped me better myself.

Just as we want people to humanize the inmates, we want to humanize the staff. The staff are human beings just like us. They have problems and situations just as we do. I didn’t look at brown and orange, I looked at the human condition. That was a big part of effecting change. I started where the world was, not where I wanted it to be.

I Can Have a Better Life Than This

My first thought after 41 years of incarceration was, YAY! Then I wanted to make sure to prepare myself to keep my word for the men and women coming out of prison.

I took an oath in the military to fight the enemy, foreign and domestic. We have a domestic issue here and I promised to fight it just like I fought when I was in Vietnam. I served in Vietnam and I am serving this cause.

One thing we have to develop is integrity. I’ve run into so many incarcerated men and women who just lost touch with the core values and principles they were raised with. They promised that when they got out, they were going to do this or that and they didn’t follow through. I didn’t want to be one of those people.

Once a person gets fed up and tired of living in a certain way, they’re ready to change. They’ll want to get back in touch with their core values and we support and reward people for that. Recovery is a big part of reentry. People have the misconception that we’re just talking about substance abuse, but there are many forms of addiction, mostly the way they cope with stress.

I used to facilitate a stress management class. I’d teach people stress is a natural thing. Athletes use it all the time, taking the body through a lot of stress to prepare for the task at hand. What matters is how you manage stress. When people understand this, they know what to do. They’re okay.

Many people need to forgive themselves for making a mistake. This is something we’ve uncovered. They haven’t asked the people they hurt to forgive them. Without forgiveness, it’s like trying to fill a hole but you don’t know what to fill it with.

It’s also about having a conversation, being there for someone, listening to their stories. A lot of times people have been through so much trauma in their life, you can’t imagine how freeing and liberating it is for a human being to be able to just get it out.

Some people call it an epiphany. I don’t care what you call it, just that you realize, “I don’t have to live like this. I can have a better life than this.” 

Mukhtar Bilal Najee-Ullah,
 Adcovacy Director

Advisory Board

Executive Director

Joseph McDonald

Community Relations Director

Joseph Chiappetta Jr.

Advocacy Director

Mukhtar Bilal Najee-Ullah

Development Director

Kyle Harless

Social Services Director

Karen Smith

Staff

Founding Director

Jeanne C. Reynolds​

Founding Director

Joseph Chiappetta Sr.

Recovery & Re-Entry Outreach counselor

Denise McDonald

Director of Information Technology

Robert Pruett

DIRECTOR of support services

Woodrow Getten

development coordinator

Jamison Alleman

Gang Prevention

Garret Deetz​

Compliance Coordinator

Michael Iovino​

Recovery outreach

Sean Young

Education & Projects specialist

Dan Leonard

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