The Engagement was designed to help formerly incarcerated persons participate in the restoration needed in crime infested, low income communities in the Greater Birmingham area. The Offender Alumni Association started the process by adopting the Titusville community in March 2016. For us restoration of communities would involve three things; dedication,building relationships and hard work. We believe that if we can invest in building people, they will invest in rebuilding their "community." The initiation of this process started with providing lawn services to the elderly, disabled residents free of charge. This work is performed by formerly incarcerated individuals and their families. This was to create a non-threatening presence to the residents, ensuring that we were there to help them. The second phase, the relationship building, started with an introduction the group and purpose in March 2017. We immediately implement our ideas to get the youth involve by hosting the first Youth Career Readiness Initiative for those 14-17 in the Titusville community who were in danger of failing in school, had parents who are incarcerated, and siblings that had been involved with the Birmingham VRI, and yet these youth were still actively trying to live meaningful lives without proper influence or support in their efforts. This project was coordinated June -September. It gave OAA the room to build relationship over the summer months and once school started, the ability to check to see where the youth are so that even as the funding end we can follow-up and offer any assistance necessary for the youth to succeed. We are currently looking to strengthen our efforts by creation of a resource hub. This community space will offer youth a place to study ( math and reading camps), kids will receive a light snack before returning home, community support meetings and resource guides that assist residents in rising above their current situation. This is a hand up methodology.
Funded by Birmingham, AL (November 2017)