Ward cycling Michigan’s outline to support second chances

July 25, 2023

By Ward Mullens

Tim ward on his bike

Albion College graduate Tim Ward, ’86, recently got involved with an organization called Chance for Life, which pledges to “go the extra mile” to help those incarcerated build new skills and a new life.

Ward is going that extra mile, and then some, as he as traces the outline of Michigan on his bike to raise awareness of and money for the organization.

“Chance for Life is a progressive transformational program that works,” Ward said. “The group has developed an approach that changes the community and creates a better future, one life at a time. I’m honored to support them.”

Ward, an avid cyclist, launched his trek earlier this month from Detroit and will complete the journey Aug. 3 in Detroit. The ride covers approximately 2,400 miles, around both the lower and upper peninsulas of the state. Along the journey, Ward will make stops to talk to state representatives and local government officials to increase awareness about Chance for Life.

Through job training, job placement, mentoring and family reintegration, Chance for Life provides the tools needed so core members become people who are motivated to help themselves and others.

“The recidivism rate for Chance for Life is about 6%, Ward said. “This is never for violent crime but technical violations.”

Chance For Life began in 1999 at the Mound Correctional Facility with 25 inmates. Participants learned how to resolve their disputes using mediation skills and how to pass these skills on to the other inmates. This prompted a 40% decrease in violent incidents among inmates within that first year. Currently, the program is helping people in five facilities.

“The wardens are big fans of this program,” said Ward, the president of Michigan Legislative Consultants, a Lansing lobbying firm.

Ward developed the idea for “Trace Michigan” on one of his daily rides.

“I got into biking about seven years ago and got serious about six years ago,” Ward said. “It’s my time to be alone and clear my head. I got to thinking, ‘How can I use this in a way that benefits others?’”

The name of the ride, “Trace Michigan,” came from Ward’s wife, Mary Liioi-Ward, ’85.

“She has been very supportive and came up with lots of good ideas around the event,” Ward said. Ward met his wife in a political science class at Albion taught my Myron Levine.

Ward said the bottom line is helping people transition back into their communities.

“This is a bold strategy that breaks the cycle of despair,” Ward said. “By teaching behavioral and life skills, these residents can transition into the community that has changed significantly during their absence. Chance for Life helps people move beyond the mistakes of the past and build brighter futures.”

To learn more about the organization go to chanceforlifeonline.org. To follow each step of Ward’s journey, go to TraceMiRide on your favorite social media platform.