Programs Provide Mentorship and Resources for Youth and Parents to Reduce Recidivism | Local news

PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) – The Portland Peace Initiative, a coalition of several organizations, held its first roundtable on gun violence on Friday. A number of people joined in this discussion, which was about investing in the black community.

The group spoke about the importance of programs that help reduce reoffending, giving children and their parents the tools and resources to grow together. One of these programs is Know me now, a non-profit organization that helps connect children with their incarcerated parents and support their parents when released from prison.

This is a crucial point that has come up in many discussions about gun violence, the missing link for children if their parent is incarcerated and they don’t have a good mentor.

Director Hosheman Brown said the program not only gives children that bond with their parents, but offers counseling to their parents when they are released with access to groups that work with them to find housing and find a job.

“We are giving these parents an opportunity,” said Brown. “We have teams that are formed by church groups, civic groups, community groups and when (a) mom or dad is released from incarceration they can walk alongside them for a full year,” said Brown. “It gives them a job opportunity. We work with second chance employers. “

Brown explained how the program was able to adapt to the pandemic.

“Even during (COVID-19) when a lot of these moms and dads weren’t given the opportunity to really have this connectivity with their kids, we went to the Department of Corrections to ask if they could actually set up kiosks. in all 14 prisons in Oregon and they did, “Brown said.” And now we’ve opened up our very first virtual tour space. “

Brown says the visitation space is north of Portland. Children enter the office through their social workers and have a one-hour virtual tour, once a month, with their incarcerated parent.

The group also heard from Dontae Riley, the founder of the STARS mentorship program. He says they work with at-risk students ages 12 to 24 who typically attend a non-traditional high school. This includes alternative schools, the juvenile justice system and the reception system.

Riley says the program offers plenty of athletic and other activities to build relationships with students, as well as mentorship.

“Our thing is really to deconstruct the myths, tear down all the walls and rebuild them with the self esteem, the moral compass, the character and just give them the opportunity to find the ‘them’,” said Riley. . “That’s what I like to say. Find the ‘you’ before you go out, because when you (were) in the house with a blanket eating cereal, you (were not) that guy. It’s a learned behavior. Through many different conversations and groups, I get to show them that you’ve been cheated. And once they understand that they have been cheated, they all try to develop those skills. “

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