What a year to be a part of something special! RED’s 2018 was filled with progress in a number of areas: financial, our participants and their rehabilitation, events and service experiences, and newly formed partnerships. Please take a minute to read all the hard work that went on in 2018 that made the year such a success for our organization.
In 2018, RED had expenditures of $31,000. Our surplus was $19,000. Our in-kind donations were $18,000, which pushed us to a total of $68,000 for the year.
Milestones and General progress for RED
In 2018, RED graduated its 3rd cohort. We’re happy to announce that every single individual who started, with the exception of one, matriculated through and graduated the almost year-long program. This is a great accomplishment and we’re pleased that so many of the participants found the program helpful and made the most of their opportunity.
At RED, we are also happy to announce that now while matriculating through the program, the courts have granted our participants deferred prosecution. This means that while in the program, there is a presumption of innocence, thus allowing our participants to navigate through the program with a clean record which makes it easier to facilitate finding employment, housing, etc., and not have their criminal background check be a deterrent to anyone inquiring.
One of our proudest moments of the year was continuing to stand with and assist a RED program alum with his ongoing legal battle. Mr. Andre Jones, a 2nd year graduate of the program, was unfairly targeted by our justice system while on parole which sought to have him become another statistic of recidivism. We at RED refused to let that happen. We fought hard, and with justice on our side, we were able to get all his charges dismissed and end his parole, so that he may move on with his life in peace without the threat of incarceration hanging over him. We are happy to report that Andre is back home with his family, and his kids are happy to have their father back with them.
In 2018, RED set to work finalizing the modules to be included in our program. This was an arduous undertaking, that required the input from multiple sources including law enforcement, attorneys, and our own participants. With the modules finalized, we will be able to grant greater access to participants to practice on their own outside of regular program hours. Additionally, we can explore making our curriculum available to a wider audience.
RED participated in a number of events this year. Most notably, the Do.Justice service day, a trip to the National Center for Civil and Human Rights Museum, and an Emotional Intelligence workshop.
Do.Justice was a service day with the Buckhead Church and city of Atlanta. It took place on April 14, 2018 at a local, city of Atlanta park (Spink-Collins Park). Members of RED, the Buckhead Church, Do Justice Initiative, and AmeriCorps all came together to make this a gratifying service experience for all in attendance (see a slideshow of the service day here).
On the National Center for Civil and Human Rights Museum’s downtown Atlanta trip, we were all reminded of the atrocities our nation has committed against African Americans in the name of law and justice. After the tour, we discussed how the vision of Martin Luther King Jr. and the courage of everyday citizens to demonstrate civil disobedience against unjust segregation laws secured the rights African Americans have today. We also discussed how important it is to safeguard these rights, so that we can address today’s continuing racial oppression within the country’s legal framework with our full voices, votes, constructive actions, and liberated spirits.
In order to help our contributors and our participants better understand themselves emotionally, we participated in an Emotional Intelligence workshop. Our participants learned that everything that happens to them has emotional memory that is triggered by their five senses. And, in order to not get hijacked and only see a few options to handling a situation, they must follow these steps: 1. Count, 2. Breathe, 3. Give Thanks, and 4. Ask Questions. Participants found the information helpful, and after the workshop felt they were better equipped to handle pressure-filled, emotionally charged situations. The workshop also gave the mentors more in-depth information to aid in connecting and guiding their mentees on their path to rehabilitation.
We are happy to announce partnerships formed in 2018 that will greatly benefit the organization and its participants moving forward. RED was able to secure an employment partnership with Kroger in the Buckhead area. Kroger (Buckhead) has agreed to staff our participants in need of employment as long as they are in good standing within the program. In addition to Kroger employment, we have also partnered with Zero Model. Zero Model is a national social enterprise launching profitable businesses and providing life-changing employment for the formerly incarcerated. Their work is built on a model that leverages the limitless potential of people and the transformative power of businesses and jobs.
All of these events and accomplishments in 2018 would not have been possible were it not for the tireless efforts of our contributors, from the Board to our volunteers. And equally as important to our organization, our donors. Thank you all for your contributions, in whatever format: be it time, financial resources, etc. We here at RED are extremely excited to kick off the new year with exciting events such as the Inmates to Entrepreneurs Atlanta conference, and Second Chance Day and the 8th Annual Justice Day both at the Capitol. We look forward to keeping you all informed on what we have in store in 2019 and encourage you to sing up for the newsletter and follow us on social media outlets in order to remain informed of all happenings.