Project 180 volunteer Sal D’angelo‘s remarkable life journey began on the dangerous streets of Far Rockaway, NY, a section of Queens infamous for its violence and crime. The child of parents who both suffered with addictive disease, Sal developed his own by the age of 13, using cocaine, angel dust, ecstasy, and PCP.
Sal moved with his family from Far Rockaway to Tampa where he lived with his father during his teenage years. Arrested on charges of strong-arm robbery, burglary, grand theft, and dealing in stolen property, Sal was incarcerated in Lancaster Correctional Institute in Trenton, a Florida “gladiator” prison where violence among inmates and correctional officers was the norm.
Upon release, Sal’s reentry did not go smoothly. His addiction resulted in a return to crime, an overdose in a trailer park ditch, and another round of stealing to support his habit. Eventually a Sarasota County jail program helped him begin again. “’I was 29 years old. I’d been on the streets my whole life. You have to start your whole life over and forget everything you’ve ever known. It’s not simple’” (Levey-Baker, Sarasota Magazine, September 2017). Through hard work on himself, his faith, and the faith of others in him, he’s now giving back to others.
Today, in addition to holding a full-time job and being a new father, Sal volunteers to help run Project 180’s weekly Thursday night Support Circle for formerly incarcerated citizens where his leadership and quiet authenticity provide an anchor for others in the room. A thoughtful and reflective man, his willingness to share encourages others to speak up.
Sal is also the subject of a recent feature article by Cooper Levey-Baker in the September issue of Sarasota Magazine (freely quoted in this newsletter article). To read Cooper’s excellent piece about Sal, other justice-involved citizens, and Project 180, click here. A tale of struggle and triumph, it’s well worth the read.
Help advance Project 180’s Support Circle for formerly incarcerated citizens. Donate today.