We are brothers, sons, and the best of friends.
We are students and researchers, mentors, volunteers, and teachers. We are athletes and artists, speakers, spiritual seekers, looking for peace and trying to give as much as we possibly can to our world. We are humans.
And just like you and I — those among us who have been convicted of a crime are human too. For those that have faced their consequences and should return to our society, further segregation and retaliation is not the answer to helping create productive, contributing humans.
Those too struggling with homelessness, addiction, behavioral disorders, and the plethora of issues that go along with incarceration: they are all human. Our humanity brings us together. It tells us to lend a hand to someone when they fall down, to care for the sick, and stand up for our fellows — especially when they cannot stand up for themselves.
We at Winning Ways hope to be a spark. To show our brothers and sisters that sometimes a second chance is all it takes – and how miraculous a second chance can be. To take an individual that has wronged others or society, who bears a host of dysfunctional beliefs and behaviors, and show them how to be a caring, working fellow among us. Why? Because we all share in this humanity and world, and to work towards a better life for all is one of the most constitutional missions. Winning Ways is a community, a family, and a home.
We hope you will stay for a while. Please explore the other pages for an idea of the state of the prison system, the issues facing our society including poverty, homelessness, learned helplessness, addiction, mental disorders, and what we can change – together.
Co-founder & President
Benjamin Backes, LCSW, LADC is the Assistant Executive Director of Frankenberger Associates, where he oversees the therapeutic services, which include the PEERS® Social Skills program and other counseling services. As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LADC), Ben provides counseling services to students and their families, as well as individual crisis management for schools.
Additionally, Ben speaks frequently about addiction, anxiety, depression, social skills, and other behavorial/developmental topics. Some of his presentations include, “21st Century Addiction”, “An Honest Conversation” and “My Story”, in which he provides the latest evidence-based research regarding substance use along with insights from his personal journey with addiction. Prior to his role at Frankenberger Associates, Ben was the Director of School-Based Counseling at Project Courage LLC, where he provided counseling services at numerous high schools and supervised other school-based counselors.
Ben also brings experience with Medicated Assisted Treatment (MAT), and individual, group, and family counseling. Ben received his Associates Degree and certificate in Drug and Alcohol Recovery Counseling (DARC) from Gateway Community College, his Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Southern Connecticut State University, and his Master’s Degree in Social Work from Fordham University.
Co-founder & Vice President
Andrew holds a B.S. in Molecular & Cell Biology from the University of Connecticut. He is enrolled in the dual Doctor of Medicine & Doctor of Philosophy at Columbia University, graduating in 2025 to train in medical oncology, and to conduct research to advance synthetic biology & immunology while designing novel therapeutics.
Before medical school, he worked as a chemistry tutor & teacher for several years, taught courses at Yale, as well as middle and high-school classes through the Health Career Opportunities Program through the University of Connecticut. His thousands of hours of teaching, and knowledge of neuroscience, continue to contribute course refinement through creation of our Curriculum. Outside of medicine and teaching, Andrew runs a weightlifting gym, and guides individuals in aspects of physical health, nutrition, and athletic training.
Today his major goal in life is to reduce the burden of suffering experienced through various tragic realities of the human condition. More broadly, to help end the misdirection, suffering, and death of bright, young people in our society, whether through greatly needed community programs such as the one born here, or methods of curing human disease.
Co-founder & Executive Director
Kevin is currently the Executive Director for Winning Ways Inc. Prior to his present position, he was a Program Coordinator at The Recovery House – Columbus House in New Haven, CT. Kevin also held the title of Employment Specialist, where he served the homeless-veteran population in New Haven County.
In addition, Kevin also co-founded Winning Ways Inc. Winnings Ways is a non-profit organization whose mission is to establish a family-based, trust-instilling program which fosters the rehabilitation of the formerly incarcerated while strengthening our community. Kevin will be receiving his bachelor’s degree in Business Management, May 2021 from Charter Oak State College.
Carl is the Employment and Benefits Manager for Columbus House Incorporated, where he has worked for 11 years. He developed the Employment Services program, working with individuals who are chronically, literally, and economically homeless to become job ready. This includes individuals suffering from substance abuse issues, mental illnesses, and complex legal histories.
Prior to working for Columbus House Inc., Carl was a Union Representative, representing over one-thousand members, where he organized, negotiated contracts, and ran Labor Management meetings and Arbitrations. He has also been in ministry for over seventeen years and was ordained Pastor where he is the Senior Pastor for the past seven years. He is in Bible College, where he will obtain his Doctorate in Theology Degree in the spring. His own lived experience dealing with the legal system motivates his amazing work.
He holds numerous trainings from DMHAS, Relias, and the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and is also GPRA certified and SOAR trained. Carl helped create the Employment and Enrichment Center (EEC), which consists of basic computer training, resume writing, online applications, mock interviewing, financial literacy, Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP), KeyTrain/ONET, lab, and jobs club. Hundreds have been able to obtain competitive jobs and become productive citizens again over the years. Carl also oversees the Employment Network, writing Tickets to Work, assisting individuals on Social Security disability to obtain employment.
Neo McNair is a highly skilled and motivated businesswoman committed to the development of small business and community organizations who strive to bring their ideas and visions to life. She is a proven and experienced CEO and Business Development Director with record of significantly improving sales by developing strong customer service relationships.
Neo is esteemed by her peers and has served in business for over 20 years in various management and leadership positions. She has worked alongside Fortune 500 company executives and leaders. Neo’s most fulfilling work was serving with the American Heart Association, where she held the position of Director of Business Development/ Planned Giving. During her time with the AHA she raised over 15.5 million for cardiovascular disease research.
Since 2014, through her company Get Organized, Neo has gained the trust of over 300 individual & business clients throughout the U.S in providing financial, fundraising, management, marketing, technology & spiritual services. Neo graduated from the University of Delaware and Wesley College with degrees in Business Management, Economics and Leadership. Neo has a charismatic personality that leaves you feeling energized and filled with hope. It is her personal mission to be a blessing onto others and serve with a smile, excellence and a shining spirit.
Libby is from Connecticut, born in Hartford. She spent her childhood growing up on the shoreline, and currently works as a public relations, fund development and marketing consultant. Her recent collaborations include Women Empowering Women Events national conference organization, New England Fashion Week where she designed the official flyer and walked as a runway model in the closing show, a celebrity brand and corporation in Los Angeles, and her town’s non profit Marlborough Food Bank.
She currently volunteers for the international anti trafficking organization Love146 and founded and co-chairs the Love146 Greater New Haven Volunteer Team. She is an advocate for domestic violence survivors and recounted her own story as a part of the Women Empowering Women Events “Women Talk” Virtual Conference 2021, which was viewed by over 750 people. She is a loving mother to two young sons, coaches T Ball for the RHAM Youth Baseball League, Buffalo chicken and craft beer super fan, and enjoys space opera or gangster movies.
More to come on Jonny’s soon!
Board Member, Educator & Facilitator
Rose, Corporate Professional turned Entrepreneur, started her company in Transportation Logistics in 2020. In a three-month timeframe, her business revenue hit over Six-Figures by implementing what she learned about business as a former banker. She later became a Certified Minority Supplier for the State of Connecticut and was featured on the front page of the Connecticut Post on February 28, 2022, for her work in the community helping other Minority Small Business Owners build profitable and thriving businesses.
Rose has hosted and taught many financial literacy classes for organizations ranging from the Girls Scouts of America, WorkPlace Inc, New Haven Arts Council, and in efforts with Winning Ways Inc the Huneebee Project. She has helped over 100 and counting entrepreneurs get access to professional services such as accounting, business insurance, and business funding. Rose has become known for her resourcefulness, business acumen, and ability to connect with diverse audiences.
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