SAFFORD- Could you re-enter society with a criminal record? Do you understand the challenges that you would face finding a job, housing, and acquiring an education? You will.
The Graham County Substance Abuse Coalition will be partnering with REINVENTING ReEntry founder, Sue Ellen Allen to create an educational interactive presentation for the residents of the Gila Valley in the effort to decrease stigma toward those with a criminal history, thus decreasing the crime rate as well. Visitors of the event will pass through a variety of tables, gaining an identity, and setting out with multiple goals in mind. With the identity they have been given, visitors will circulate through the room, facing the stigma and challenges surrounding the formally incarcerated as they try to obtain the goals of the project. REINVENTING ReEntry is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, based in Arizona.
Gila Valley Central contacted Kathy Grimes of the Graham County Substance Abuse Coalition, and Grimes said that this would be the first time that REINVENTING ReEntry has visited the Gila Valley. Grimes said she hopes that through the educational roleplaying of the Reentry Challenge, individuals within the community will learn about and understand the stigma associated with an individual facing the reality of a criminal history. The event is free to the public. Business owners, the general public, and community leaders are being encouraged to attend.
“What we’re hoping to do by bringing this training into the community is to reduce the stigma and to give people a chance. People make mistakes sometimes or get involved with things they shouldn’t. They go into rehab, recovery, or they go to prison, and welcoming them back and giving them a chance to be functioning community I think, is really important,” Grimes said. “Unfortunately, when people have that(a criminal history) on their record, they have a hard time finding work. What happens is this challenge is to educate the community on how difficult it is for individuals to reenter the community and be successful. Many times, people just give up trying and then they get back into the same thing they were doing before, with drugs and other behaviors they can’t get a job, move forward, or be self-sustaining because people just won’t give them a chance. ”
The Reinventing Re-entry will be on Tuesday, Feb. 27, from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., at the Graham County Health Annex second floor. For more information on Reinventing ReEntry, click here.
This is a promotional article