Success Stories


The owner of newly opened Givens Woodworks, LLC has a personal mantra, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” After spending 44 years in Angola, Parole Project client Theortric “Bojack” Givens is taking each moment as it comes, focusing on his goals and doing his best prevent the vagaries of daily life from throwing him off track. The woodworker’s resilience and unwavering optimism motivates him to translate his high-end carpentry skills to build a business that allows him to reach his full potential and earn a steady income on his own terms. While incarcerated, Givens spoke to anyone who would listen about his dream to become a professional cabinet and furniture maker. He developed a step by step plan, outlining the resources and assistance he would need to become a small business owner when the day came that he was granted parole. So it came as no surprise to Parole Project Deputy Director Kerry Myers when Givens, released only a handful of months before, asked him for assistance to follow through with his plan. “He is both focused and realistic, a good combination for success,” said Myers. In February of this year he had an operational workshop, customers began lining up, and Givens Woodworks became a Louisiana registered LLC.

Theotric “Bojack” Givens with his dog, Termite, inside the workshop of his recently-opened custom cabinet and furniture business, Givens Woodwork in Port Allen, Louisiana.

Like most small business owners, Givens knew he would need to open a company line of credit and business bank account, tasks that felt dauting before he took the financial literacy classes as part of Parole Project’s phase one “intensive reintegration” program. Givens picked up that valuable information and much more going through the phase one classes. “Just sitting there and listening, keeping your mind open, you will learn something,” Givens said, “it’s a beautiful program.” An avid notetaker, Givens keeps a notebook full of information learned in his reentry classes on a variety of subjects for reference at all times.

When asked what he believes sets his work apart from others, Theortric confidently responded that the difference is in the “quality, not quantity” of his craft. He enjoys taking the time to ensure his customers receive “exactly what they want” and the finished product is the highest quality. In an ode to his personal mantra, he says that there is an indelible relationship between his personal values, “patience, dedication, humility and a positive outlook,” the quality of his craft, and his quality of life. Belying his friendly, laid back approach to life and work, Givens has proven himself to be an efficient worker. In his first month of operation he completed several projects for his initial customers in addition to attending weekly night school, managing his workspace and finances. His recent commissions include a table and chair set, built-in cabinets and shelving units, gun cabinets, and a custom storage unit for a large vinyl record collection.

Termite, who keeps Givens company during the day, relaxes in her favorite spot under a work table

His commitment to a successful operation includes redesigning and rebuilding his shop space to create an ideal custom cabinet and furniture workshop complete with a tool room, office, and separate finishing room. He has also made accommodations for the company’s other employee, “guard dog” Termite. A playful and friendly puppy, Termite still has much to learn about her occupation. Nonetheless, the two make a great pair in the workshop.

It has been a time-intensive process, but Givens has enjoyed every second. “I worked for someone else for 44 years, 10 months, and six days … I want to work for myself this time,” he said. With support from Parole Project and by not sweating the small stuff, he has gone from counting his days to fully living and enjoying them and making the most of his second chance.

Are you looking for someone to build your next custom carpentry project? Call Bojack Givens 337-991-3022

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