Why I am a Champion for this Cause
I am proud to support Civic Ensemble‘s effort to raise funds for an 8-week program for individuals coming out of prison and jail in Ithaca, NY. Individuals will have the opportunity to develop skills in playwriting and acting with the goal of employment within Ithaca community.
As many of you know, I’ve been volunteering in prisons and jails for the past 8 years teaching nonviolent communications skills, parenting, job search. I’ve met many amazing, intelligent, and caring men who want the opportunity to raise their children, work, and be a contributing member of society. In many cases, these men are incarcerated for irrationally long sentences for non-violent crimes. Once people are released from prison they are stigmatized for life making it nearly impossible to find meaningful work and in many cases get housing, food subsidies, vote, and participate fully in society.
The Re-Entry Playwriting Program will provide an opportunity for men and women facing the challenges of re-entry to engage in creative work that may help them improve their communication, collaboration, and leadership skills. The program will offer participants the means to demonstrate attributes required in the workforce, such as punctuality, perseverance, and interpersonal skills. Finally, the program will directly support participants’ job search efforts by providing the opportunity for them to share their work publicly and interact with potential employers. Additionally, employers can gain insight about reasons to consider hiring people with criminal records.