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Monday, February 25, 2013

Re-Entry Support Group Kicks Off

"This year is an exciting time for the Bronx Reentry Working Group. On February 28th, 2013 we will be launching a new group that will be for returning citizens and facilitated by returning citizens, called "RETURNING & RETHINKING.’’ It is a support group where all can open up to share their challenges, frustrations, acts of discrimination, hope, accomplishments and goals for a better life as they return home from having been incarcerated.  

"What's next?" is a broad question that all returning citizens  have when they first come home. When I first heard of the idea to create this group, I jumped at the opportunity. I saw a way to open a door and form a community that could help support people with the transition process. As a returning citizen myself, I know how difficult this process can be and what challenges it presents. 

This group is going to be based on the 12-step model (familiar to AA and NA groups) to help and guide returning citizens who are willing to turn their lives around. It is aimed at helping them to create positive and productive lives for themselves and their family, as well as make necessary changes in their relationships and lifestyle to facilitate this process. If you know of someone in the Bronx that is in need of support please tell them to come to the group.  Information is below." 

- Ramon Semorile, Bronx Community Solutions

Returning and Rethinking

Thursday, February 28th 2013

6:00 pm -7:30pm

851 Grand Concourse, Room 915

Bronx, NY 10451

What’s next? What do I do now? Where can I get help? If these are questions you have, the returning and rethinking support group invites you to join us.

This is a group for all returning citizens (formerly incarcerated) looking to make positive changes in their lives and in their community. The support group will focus on rethinking career, relationships and lifestyle. We also invite those who have been successful in the reentry process and are open to sharing their experiences.

“Aim in a direction, if you don’t know where you’re going you’ll

probably end up somewhere else.”—Cary Grant

For more information, contact Cary Grant: or

Ramon Semorile: or 718-618-2490

This is sponsored by the Bronx Reentry Working Group

Monday, February 11, 2013

BCS Community Service Staff Participate in Development Training

Bronx Community Solutions ADP crew conducting a neighborhood cleanup in April 2012

On January 30-31, the Bronx Community Solutions Community Service Department took part in a two-day staff development training. What follows is a description by T.K. Singleton, Coordinator of Community Initiatives, who was one of the facilitators of the program. 
A Year In Review: Bronx Community Service Department Professional Staff Development Training
Bronx Community Solutions (BCS) Community Service Crew One operates five days a week cleaning and beautifying the area around the Bronx Criminal Courthouse as well as outlying Bronx neighborhoods. On certain days they operate two separate community service crews to expand the reach of their efforts.  In 2012, Bronx Community Solutions Crew completed 365 community service projects throughout the Bronx. This is in addition to the community service work completed by our participants through other community partner sites.
To review our work in 2012, as well as discuss plans for the following year, we held a professional staff development training over a period of two days. The goal was to review what worked and what didn't regarding our community service efforts in 2012, as well as brainstorm on ways to improve in the future.
On the first day we worked with a clinician from Bronx Futures to coordinate an adolescent-focused community service training. Since 2012, we have been running a type of community service that is tailored to youth as part of our Adolescent Diversion Program (ADP). BCS community service crew supervisors had the opportunity to hear about what is important to young adults, what their needs are and how they think. For some of our crew supervisors, it helped them to reflect on themselves at that age. It was an impactful day for our staff.
BCS Intake Specialist Omar Camacho facilitates one of our ADP social service classes as well as assists in supervising one of the ADP community service crews once per week. He took part in the training and had the following to say about this portion of the training:

"Yesterday I was able to attend a staff development training for our ADP (Adolescent Diversion Program), which works with 16 and 17-year-olds involved the criminal justice system. The meeting was more of a refresher/reminder for me that we have to be more sensitive and open to our youth clients than we would be with our adults. We have to put ourselves in their shoes and remember what was important to us when we were at that age, and what we expected from adults as far as guidance and support. What I take back from this training is that we should have more empathy and understanding when we are engaging with our youth clients."
- Omar Camacho, Intake Specialist
The next day, the training focused on the best ways to effectively communicate with and have an effect upon our community service participants. Our work with our clients is brief by nature -- they generally have short-term mandates (an average sentence of 3-5 days), and so we discussed how best we can have an impact upon their lives within such a brief window of opportunity. We decided that it is important to do two things with our clients: find the time to briefly connect with each person individually, and provide them with printed materials that outline the resources available to them through Bronx Community Solutions and invite them to return to our office for voluntary services. By doing this we hope to establish community service as a tool that can affect change not only in the community but also in a client’s life.
Each year, we strive to better community service for all parties we serve. This training helped us to look at the needs of the community and of the clients. We had the opportunity to talk about which partnerships work well and what new partners we will seek out so that we can better serve the community in 2013 and beyond.

- T.K. Singleton, Coordinator of Community Initiatives

The community service program at Bronx Community Solutions was certainly busy in 2012. BCS participants contributed 74,690 hours of community service work to the Bronx last year, providing the city with an estimated savings of $541,502*.

*Calculated using the current minimum wage rate, $7.25/hour times 7 hours of work each day