Rebuilding Lives through Relationships, Job Training, and Hard Work
Boaz & Ruth is unique in Richmond – and beyond – in its comprehensive approach to the systemic problems of homelessness, joblessness and poverty that afflict both released prisoners and the communities to which they return. Our re-entry training for released prisoners pursues the ultimate purpose of personal empowerment, not merely provision of services. The overarching goal is that persons completing the program will no longer look to society to support them but will look to themselves to support society.
The program is comprehensive not only in its broad continuum of critical services, but also in its emphasis on establishing healthy, mutually respectful relationships among family, peers, supervisors and the community at large. Joan Petersilia, a professor of criminology at the University of California, identifies the importance of this emphasis in her book, When Prisoners Come Home: Parole and Prisoner Reentry.
Detachment from conventional society is one of the primary reasons that job-training programs have not produced the positive outcomes for which proponents had hoped. . . . If you come out of prison without a real support system of family and friends, nine out of ten times, you won’t make it.
At Boaz & Ruth, assisted by counselors and mentors, ex-offenders rebuild their lives primarily through relationships, beginning with a renewed respect for themselves and their own intrinsic value. That respectful relationship is multiplied and practiced an average of 50 hours a week in classes, counseling sessions, on-the-job training and community service projects. A circle of positive, supportive relationships forms at Boaz & Ruth in which trainees practice the emotional competencies and life skills they are learning. Throughout the intensive twelve-month training period, B&R staff and mentors encourage, challenge and applaud the perseverance of individuals determined to do the right thing.
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