Game Changer Award

Changing Behavior,
Changing Lives

The GEO Game Changer Award honors individuals (participants and staff) who embody the mission of the Continuum of Care by exemplifying excellence in their everyday tasks and are committed to changing behavior and changing lives.

In July 2017, Steadmund Anthony transferred to GEO’s Riverbend Correctional and Rehabilitation Facility in Milledgeville, Georgia. Although his first notion when he arrived there was to leave, that changed once he heard about the GEO Continuum of Care® (CoC). He immediately signed up and that decision helped him make a positive change in his life.

During his reentry process, Anthony found unwavering support from his post-release case manager, Kristen Heller. A couple months after his release, Kristin recommended him a job. Even though, he said no, she pushed him and challenged him to get out of his comfort zone.

He recalls her telling him, “Why? Why not? Why not you?’” He goes on to say that “she ultimately helped me, she helped me even though I didn’t get the job, even though I didn’t get the position. You know, I was like the last three candidates for the position, but if she didn’t just help me or just pushed me to actually man up, and just at least attempt to go for the position, I wouldn’t have gotten that far. She believed in me when I didn’t want to believe in myself.” 

Through developing a strong relationship with Kristen, Anthony instilled a newfound confidence within himself. When asked about his future, he said, “I am proud of who I am as a man right now but I know I am nowhere near my peak.”

Today, Anthony works as a service manager at one of the busiest Chipotles in Atlanta. In addition, he spends time helping his community, especially those incarcerated. That passion to give back and help others is why we are proud to recognize him as a Game Changer!

From left to right: David Burch, Dr. Ann Schlarb, Anthony Steadmund, and Dr. Derrick Schofield.

When Miguel was incarcerated in 2004, he was determined to change his perspective on life. He was aware of the thought process that brought him to prison, saying, “I bought into the lie. In our environment, we are taught, and we are led to believe, that we have to live a certain type of way because everyone around you shares basically a similar story to you. So, my train of thought was always like, ‘I got to do what everyone else is doing.’ It took me going to prison to realize that was a lie. I don’t have to live like that.” Since then, Miguel has made a positive change and motivated others as well.

When Miguel was transferred to the South Bay Correctional and Rehabilitation Facility in Florida, he enrolled in GEO’s Continuum of Care®. What inspired him to join the program? Another returning citizen who shared his own story about being released and the opportunities he created.

Since his release, Miguel has been working in construction, currently as an assistant foreman. He is now motivated to get to work, and every day he shows up an hour early and stays an hour late to make sure that everything is ready for the next day. His dedication, perseverance, and hard work have inspired others and have afforded him new opportunities to continue to learn and develop in his career path.

In June, GEO hosted our Continuum of Care® Annual Alumni picnic and acknowledged Miguel for the positive change he has made in his community, and the way he has inspired others.

When he received his award, he said to everyone, “It matters how many times you get up, not how many times you fall. You cannot be defined by what mistakes you’ve made in your path, or the opinion of others. What you want and decide for yourself is not only for yourself, but for your loved ones. I become the change in the world that I desire to be wherever I’m at.” His thoughtfulness and inspiration is what makes Miguel a game changer!

When Giovanni was sentenced to prison, he knew that he had to make a change. Through strength and fortitude, Giovanni has not only made a change within himself but also helped inspire others to do the same. Now he is helping returning citizens transition back to society by providing post-release services and mentoring services.

Giovanni (right) with his business partner, Teddy (left)
Giovanni (right) with his business partner, Teddy (left)

From 2006 to 2016, Giovanni Sairras served in South Bay Correctional Facility. During his time, he took courses to become a certified paralegal. He said, “I got enrolled in a paralegal program through Blackstone Career Institute… and learning the laws of this nation gave me a greater appreciation for the law.”

After graduating from his program, Giovanni became a mentor for several years as well as a transition facilitator. His goal was to help inspire others to become a better version of themselves. Following his release, he has continued to work toward that goal.

On a daily basis, Giovanni continues to help other returning citizens get back on their feet and transition back to society. Currently, he is the CEO of Primoracle Mobile Pantry. His company primarily works with post-release case managers and providing returning citizens with what they need. In addition to providing essentials, Giovanni provides mentoring services as well and help them in their transition. “My job is to mentor returning citizens and to encourage them to change and become a better version of themselves. As a returning citizen myself, I knew what areas to focus on and those areas are food, housing, and clothing. You must have those three essentials met to ensure a smooth transitioning process.”

From left to right: Dr. Derrick Schofield, Giovani, Dr.Ann Schlarb , and Mr. David Burch”
From left to right: Dr. Derrick Schofield, Giovani, Dr.Ann Schlarb , and Mr. David Burch”

We are lucky to have an incredible partner that we can rely upon in helping returning citizens in Florida get the resources they need as they return to society.

In June, we were able to host our Continuum of Care Alumni picnic and recognize those who have made a difference and positive change. Giovanni Sairras is one of many game changers that has made a positive impact on our community.

Giovanni told us that, “I hope that they (returning citizens) can also find it deep within themselves to serve as an example, for future generations of returning citizens who are about to be released. If you can achieve it, you can accomplish anything.” Giovanni is an inspiration and we are proud to recognize him as a Game Changer!