On June 20, 2013, Bronx Community Solutions, in collaboration with the Bronx Re-Entry Task Force, participated in a Re-Entry Resource Fair held at Hostos Community College in the Bronx. The event was aimed at connecting organizations and service provider agencies with returning citizens, to discuss issues related to re-entry and provide them with valuable community resources. Below is a description of the Fair by an Intern of Bronx Community Solutions, who took part in the day's event.
"I was recently able to attend the Bronx Reentry Working Group’s (BRWG) Third Annual Community Forum Resource Fair, and I can wholeheartedly state that the event was a success! The fair was comprised of multiple sections, and included a panel discussion from returning citizens who are now professionals within the human services field, informative introductions from organizations about the services that they provide, and savory lunches for everyone to enjoy. The panel discussion was especially moving because of the panelists’ candid honesty on the personal obstacles that they encountered after their release from incarceration. It was also inspiring to know that they were able to utilize their personal experiences as points of reference for their professional work despite the adversity that they faced."
"The speakers touched on the issue of juvenile justice, and its relationship to the Department of Education (DOE). They suggested that the DOE should employ initiatives geared towards the adolescent population that instill sentiments that are oppositional to criminal behavior, and that enforce the importance of educational advancement. Another highlight of the event was Nichole Singleton’s presentation of the Offender Reentry Awareness Program (ORAP), and her passionate emphasis on the essential role of the community for a returning citizen’s reintegration into society. A returning citizens’ relationship to their community can illuminate resources that can propel that individual’s academic or career endeavors, which can consequently affirm their identity, reinforce cultural norms, and hopefully deter further criminogenic behavior."
"During lunch, the organizations were able to interact with returning citizens to make assessments of appropriate referrals to services. It was a great way for reentry practitioners, community-based organizations, and policy makers to form potential collaborations and to meet with prospective clients that could help fulfill their missions and goals. The forum was also an effective method for returning citizens to build a robust and healthy support system, which is vital towards a successful reentry. In addition, the information that was provided during the forum helped the returning citizens to be abreast of the ever-changing regulations that pertain to the general equivalency diploma (GED), health-care systems, housing, and other policies concerning individuals involved with the criminal justice system. Special acknowledgements should be given to Health People for making the event possible and for providing compensation to acquire the locale, Metrocards, and food."
- Janer Cordero, Bronx Community Solutions Pinkerton Fellow