The United Way of Rockland provided a grant for women and children to participate in three 14-week programs a year for three years. The women are formerly incarcerated and attend a program that includes life skills, conflict resolution, dealing with abuse, drug and alcohol issues and self-esteem. Their children attend a program with an age-appropriate focus at the same time the women attend their program.
While the main organizers are Creative Response To Conflict and the Rockland Parent Child Center, the program also is a collaboration of Rockland Community College (in-kind space and services, and use of RCC’s Fun and Learn Center), Retired Senior Volunteer Program (provides several volunteers to handle food preparation and work with the children), and Cornell Cooperative Extension (provides financial literacy programs).
The children range in age from newborn to 16 years. The Rockland County Re-Entry Support Program for children is extremely successful. They gain confidence, self-esteem, and the ability to speak in front of a group. The themes covered in the children’s program include: cooperation; communication; affirmation; conflict resolution; bias awareness; bullying prevention; and intervention and problem solving. The children have lots of fun and are now modeling many healthy lifestyle choices, such as eliminating soda and drinking juice, water and seltzer and eating at least one vegetable at every meal.
3 rounds of 14-weeks of the re-entry program have been completed and the fourth round starts on January 19, 2012.
Out of 34 women, 2 returned to jail for a short time. Once released from jail, the 2 women completed our program and are now employed.
Out of the 34 women, 24 have fully and successfully completed our 14-week program and 21 children have graduated from the program.
9 women out of 13 received certificates, 12 children and a host of volunteers.
2 women have regained custody of their children.
7 women are now gainfully employed.
1 woman applied to Rockland Community College and is starting the RCC nursing program.
2 women have applied to BOCES.
10 are researching how to obtain their GED so that they can move on to college.
1 woman is off of parole as of December 5, 2011.
2 women returned to jail out of all of the participants. This 2:34 ratio is dramatically better than the recidivism rate of 8 out of ten formerly incarcerated return to prison. With this remarkable accomplishment, we are very proud of our re-entry program and exceptionally grateful for the support of the United Way of Rockland.