OAR’s 10th Annual Second Chance Fundraising Breakfast to be held April 24, 2018

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OAR will hold the 10th Annual Second Chance Fundraising Breakfast on Tuesday, April 24, 2018 from 7:45am to 9:00am at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Crystal City.  Guests are invited to a enjoy a free, hot breakfast and hear an inspiring program including OAR participants sharing their personal stories. This event is a fundraiser to support OAR’s programs, but there is no minimum and no maximum donation expected. As much as anything, OAR wants guests to learn about the critical work being done in the community and to inspire individuals to support OAR’s work.

RSVP is required to attend this event. Click here to RSVP to this event.

Interested in learning more about OAR but can’t attend the Breakfast?  We encourage you to sign up for a Tour.  We hold Tours twice per month at our office.  In just one hour, you’ll learn about programs and services, meet some of our staff, and get inspired by our participant’s stories.  Click here to view a list of dates and to sign up.

Need more information or have questions about the Breakfast?  Contact Heather Pritchett, Director of Development and Outreach, at hpritchett@oaronline.org or 703-228-7435.

We are also currently seeking sponsors for this event!  You have the opportunity to get exposure of your business or organization to nearly 600 local community leaders and members.  Sponsor levels range from $1,000 to $7,500.  For more details, click here.

OAR Highlights Benefits of Hiring Individuals with Felony Convictions 

OAR was featured in the July 2017 issue of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce “Arlingtonian” newsletter in the “Nonprofit Spotlight” section.  Elizabeth Jones Valderrama, OAR’s Executive Director, wrote the article which features some of the benefits of hiring individuals with a felony conviction.  You can view the entire Arlingtonian issue online by clicking HERE.  The OAR article is featured on page nine.  OAR’s feature article can also be found below:

OAR Arlingtonian Nonprofit Spotlight Article July 2017

Dana’s Story, In His Own Words

Dana shared this story at an OAR event in May 2017,
and with his permission, we would like to share it with you…

Good Afternoon. My name is Dana. I was asked to speak to you today and tell a story. It’s a story replete with shame, blame and guilt. A story still searching for a happy ending or at the very least, a positive turn and the beginning of hope once again. That story is my story. But I am not going to do that, at least not as the focus.

You see, there is a much bigger story that needs to be told. A story of selflessness, determination, care and kindness. A story about a group of people who can only be described as heroes. I know a little something about heroes, as I am a veteran of the U.S. Air Force. The title of this story is OAR.

As I tell you a little about me, where I’ve been and what brought me to this place here and now, please remember it is not me or my story that you should focus on, but as a description of how little Ms. Elizabeth, Ms. Katy, Ms. Heather and all the rest of the team at OAR had to work with. After I am finished today, I hope you too will find the definition of hero to be spelled OAR.

I am 59 years old. I was born in Baltimore. My father was a diplomat with the State Department so I traveled a lot growing up. We always came back to this area between travels, so I consider this area to be my home.

I am a disabled veteran or the U.S. Air Force. In my early 20s, I was married and had a beautiful child. I have been battling PTSD and depression for a very long time now, and I have a lot of health issues. At the age of 32, I had my first interaction with the criminal justice system. My crimes were all white collar. Nevertheless, they were crimes of need, or at least I thought so at the time. I would write a check for whatever my needs were.

My most recent incarceration was a six year sentence. I spent three and a half years right here in the Arlington County Detention Facility, and the rest at Coffewood Correctional Center in Culpeper, Virginia. I was released 92 days ago.

I first encountered OAR at Coffeewood. As I look back now, it was one of my best days. Two OAR staff members came to meet with me and spent about two hours with me. I had a lot of fear and anxiety around my release. I had no plan, I knew there was nothing and nobody waiting for me when I got out. I didn’t know where I would sleep, where I would eat, how I would get needed medication. Basically I didn’t know how I would survive. When I met with the OAR team, it was really refreshing and I felt a weight lifted off my shoulders. They mostly just listened to me during that first meeting. They wanted to know where I was at, what I wanted to do when I got out. They made statements like, “We can help with that” and “How can we help you?” I began trust and believe in them.

After that initial meeting, we communicated almost daily via email for the next six weeks until I was released. Comfort and hope for me was found in each one of those emails.

With my many medical issues, mental and physical, there was a lot of coordination required for my reentry. The OAR team worked with DHS and Probation to figure out a reentry plan. OAR became my only advocate on the outside, pulling everything together for me. There was nothing I could do while I was inside, and the process is very difficult to navigate, but OAR was there by my side the whole way. Never a complaint or brush off. Always encouraging and determined.

After six long years I felt like I had a family on the outside helping me. I am estranged from most of my family, though my 89-year-oldmMother is still my biggest fan like only a mother can be.

The day of my release was a long one. I couldn’t sleep the night before, I was so anxious and yes, scared. After going through all the release paperwork, I was told that the OAR team was waiting for me in the parking lot. Sure enough, two OAR team members were there waiting for me.

They insisted I sit in the front seat. It had been a very long time since I had sat anywhere other than the back, in handcuffs. There was a lot of chatter on the car ride. I was so anxious, afraid of the unknown, that I got sick and had to ask the OAR staff to pull over three separate times. I felt sick for the next couple of hours until we got to the Probation Office. The office was small and confined and that is what I was used to, so I felt better.

After visiting Probation, OAR took me to the grocery store to pick out some food. Don’t get me started on the gourmet prison food I enjoyed for the last six years. They took me to get a cell phone. Like the food, I thought this was a luxury item. As it turns out both food and cell phones are very necessary. You need to communicate with Probation, to coordinate medication, to search for housing, medical appointments, etc.

The OAR team also took me to lunch. What a treat! They also took me to CVS for more necessities. I was faced with so many decisions that day. What kind of groceries do you need? What do you want for lunch? What type of toothbrush do you use? I finally had to ask them to choose for me, it was all so overwhelming and I had learned I could trust them. That was OAR. Finally, that day they dropped me off at a motel room. I stayed at the motel for the next three weeks. Within 30 days, I moved into a new home. I am sharing a house in a very nice neighborhood. I walk amongst these houses and am just amazed to be there. It was OAR that helped me figure out how to navigate finding this house. They did not do it for me, but made it possible and showed me how to do it.

We all heard that story about give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime. That is what OAR has done with me. Since the day of my release, every step of the way, OAR was there.

I received an email recently from a man I was incarcerated with, who expressed surprise at how well I was doing. He said bets were taken on how soon I would be back. I told him because of OAR I was not coming back.

I am disappointed that my interaction with OAR will be dwindling soon. There was no one else there for me. OAR has become a comfort blanket and it’s hard to give that up. Sometimes it’s hard to see the forest through the trees. OAR helped my find the forest.

I am still not sure how this story will end. My story is a work in progress.

I’d like to share a quote with you. “Of all the sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these, what might have been,” by John Greenleaf Whittier. Because of OAR, I don’t have to think about what might have been. I have been given a chance.

McAuliffe looks to roll back driver’s license suspensions as part of criminal justice reform package

See the full article from the Richmond Times-Dispatch

Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced Tuesday that he’ll push legislation this year to end Virginia’s practice of automatically suspending the driver’s licenses of people who fail to pay court costs and fines after a criminal conviction.

McAuliffe, a Democrat, called his proposals “common sense” reforms, but he demurred when asked how much support he expects to have in the Republican-controlled General Assembly. The governor’s office did not reveal specific legislative language and indicated some details have yet to be worked out.

McAuliffe’s proposal on the driver’s license issue, already the subject of a class-action lawsuit and constitutional scrutiny from the U.S. Justice Department, would also end suspensions for offenses unrelated to driving.

The nonprofit Legal Aid Justice Center is challenging the suspension policy in federal court, arguing it punishes the poor by stripping them of the ability to drive to work and earn money to pay off their fees. More than 900,000 Virginians’ licenses were suspended last year because of unpaid costs or fines, according to the group. In roughly 40 percent of those cases, the underlying offense had nothing to do with driving, the group says.

In a brief filed in the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the suspension policy, the Justice Department said people facing license suspension over unpaid fines should be afforded due process in an inquiry into their ability to pay.

The state is contesting the Legal Aid lawsuit, saying the debate should be settled by policymakers, not the courts. The Supreme Court of Virginia has also moved to address the issue, approving a new rule that instructs courts to allow poor defendants to pay what they owe in installments or under a deferred plan and urges courts to use community service for those who can’t pay.

On Tuesday, McAuliffe echoed the argument that the suspensions impede many Virginians’ ability to work.

“That means that that factory worker from Floyd County whose job is 30 miles away in Christiansburg cannot lawfully drive to work and earn money to pay off those fines,” McAuliffe said. “It makes no sense.”

In a statement, House Speaker William J. Howell, R-Stafford, said the legislature will review the governor’s proposals, while urging caution on the license issue due to the pending lawsuit.

“I am very sympathetic toward individuals who get trapped in a vicious cycle of having their license revoked, not being able to drive to work, losing their job, and not being able to pay off court costs,” Howell said. “However, the General Assembly must be very careful as this issue is currently being litigated in court.”

Last year, Del. G. Manoli Loupassi, R-Richmond, won approval for a study of license suspension as a financial collection method. A joint subcommittee is scheduled to submit findings and recommendations by the first day of the 2017 session.

There have also been past bipartisan efforts to raise the grand larceny threshold. All have failed, leaving the number unchanged since 1980.

As he made the case for an increase, McAuliffe said a pair of Nikes that cost $65 in 1985 goes for $250 today, a price that means stealing the shoes could lead to a felony instead of a misdemeanor.

“I’m not here to excuse theft,” McAuliffe said. “But I am here to say that there has to be some proportionality in the punishment our courts hand out.”

Though some Democrats want to raise the threshold to $1,000 or more, a more modest increase to $500 has passed muster with some Republican lawmakers. The GOP-held Senate passed an increase to $500 last year, but the bill died in a House of Delegates subcommittee.

Del. Robert B. Bell, R-Albemarle, who chairs the House subcommittee on criminal law, has opposed bumping up the grand larceny threshold, saying it amounts to a “cost of living” increase for thieves.

In an interview Tuesday, Bell sounded similarly skeptical of the governor’s driver’s license proposal. He said “openness” exists for making allowances for defendants who may struggle to pay, but said fines are often the only penalty people face for breaking the law.

“The primary punishment for many criminal charges is the fine that the defendant pays,” Bell said. “If he doesn’t have to pay that, it’s hard to see how he’s being held accountable.”

McAuliffe declined to outline what efforts he has made to build Republican support.

“Until I get into the session, I don’t talk about who we’re meeting with,” McAuliffe said.


(804) 649-6839

Twitter: @gmoomaw

OAR’s 9th Annual Second Chance Fundraising Breakfast to be Held March 1, 2017


OAR will hold the 9th Annual Second Chance Fundraising Breakfast on Wednesday, March 1, 2017 from 7:45am to 9:00am at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Crystal City.  Guests are invited to a enjoy a free, hot breakfast and hear an inspiring program including OAR participants sharing their personal stories. This event is a fundraiser to support OAR’s programs, but there is no minimum and no maximum donation expected. As much as anything, OAR wants guests to learn about the critical work being done in the community and to inspire individuals to support OAR’s work.

RSVP is required to attend this event. Online RSVPs are now closed (as of 2/28/17).  If you’d like to submit your RSVP, please contact Anne Breville at abreville@oaronline.org or 703-228-0587 prior to 5:00pm on Tuesday, February 28th.

Interested in learning more about OAR but can’t attend the Breakfast?  We encourage you to sign up for a Tour.  We hold Tours twice per month at our office.  In just one hour, you’ll learn about programs and services, meet some of our staff, and get inspired by our participant’s stories.  Click here to view a list of dates and to sign up.

Need more information or have questions about the Breakfast?  Contact Heather Pritchett, Director of Development and Outreach, at hpritchett@oaronline.org or 703-228-7435.

Thank you to our sponsors!

Gold Level Sponsors

Miller and Long Logo                 PittSure

Silver Level Sponsors

Koons_Crown_1             Ray's the Steaks logo

Bronze Level Sponsors

         EagleBank Logo             EagleHill_logo_300dpi                    rachel-e-h-photography-logo                UUCA_logo2              Walsh Colucci Logo

Purchase a Raffle Ticket to Win a Trip for Two, Including Airfare and Accommodations!


UPDATE AS OF 12/14/16:  The raffle is now closed!  The winner has been selected. Congrats to our winner!


Official Rules

A ticket is worth the chance to win roundtrip domestic air travel and seven nights stay at a Wyndham Resorts property for two people.

A maximum of 300 tickets will be sold. There is no limit to the number of tickets you can buy.

The winning ticket will be drawn at the Project Christmas Angel Wrapping Party, December 14, 2016.  All online ticket purchases must be received by December 12 at 5 pm. Tickets will also be sold at the Project Christmas Angel event (if tickets are still available). You do not need to be present to win. Winner will be notified by phone.

Dates of stay dependent upon Wyndham Resorts availability.

Must use trip by December 31, 2017.

No exchanges will be made.

Flights and Wyndham Resorts stay do not have to be used together.

Airfare and Wyndham Resorts accommodations will be arranged through OAR donors providing these items. Winner will be responsible for airfare costs above a value of $2,000.

Ticket purchases are not tax deductible.  Winner is responsible for completing a W-9 form and must pay taxes on the value of the winnings.

OAR’s Project Christmas Angel Brings Holiday Cheer to Children of Incarcerated Parents


UPDATE AS OF 12/12/16:  Thanks to the generosity of our community, our Wrapping Party on Wednesday, December 14th is currently at full capacity for volunteers, and we cannot accept any additional volunteers for the event.  Thanks to the hundreds of you who have RSVP’ed to attend!

Project Christmas Angel will be held on Wednesday, December 14, 2016.  This is an event that OAR has held for over 20 years, where we provide holiday gifts to children of incarcerated parents.  Last year, we provided nearly 1,200 gifts to 395 children.  Parents of those incarcerated in the Arlington County Detention Facility and those recently released who are active in OAR programs or are on probation qualify for the program.  The parent fills out a form to tell us about their child (name, age, gender, interests, etc.).  At our Wrapping Party on December 14, 2016, volunteers will gather to select the children’s gifts from items that have been donated, wrap the gifts, and prepare them for delivery.  Between December 15-21, volunteers will hand-deliver the gifts to the childrens’ homes in the metro DC area.  For those children who live outside of this area, we mail the gifts to their homes.

There are several ways to get involved in this event.  Donations of toys and gift cards are needed.  New, unwrapped toys (no clothing or stuffed animals, please) for ages newborn to 18 are accepted.  Gift cards are often given to the teens, who can be hard to shop for.  We also have an Amazon wish list with gift ideas for teens.  Items purchased from the Amazon wish list can be shipped directly to the OAR office.  Donations may also be dropped off to the OAR office during our business hours (1400 N. Uhle Street, Suite 704, Arlington, VA 22201; Monday through Friday, 8:30am-12:00pm and 1:00pm-5:00pm). Donations may also be dropped off to St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church (4000 Lorcom Lane, Arlington, VA) on Wednesday, December 14 between the hours of 10am-6pm.

We also accept financial contributions to help cover to the cost of mailing the gifts to children who live outside the metro DC area.  Checks should be made payable to OAR.  Donations can also be made online via OAR’s website.  If you donate via our website, please be sure to specify in the “Comments” section that the funds should be for Project Christmas Angel.

Sponsorship opportunities are also available. Click here to learn more about becoming a sponsor for Project Christmas Angel.

Thanks in advance for your interest in Project Christmas Angel!  We look forward to brightening the holidays of hundreds of children this year, and strengthening the relationship between incarcerated parents and their children.

OAR Collecting Toys for Children of Incarcerated Parents

Photo of Toy Drive at Faith Lutheran

Each year in October, OAR hosts a Toy Drive to collect new, donated toys and gifts for children of incarcerated parents. The gifts are given in December through OAR’s Project Christmas Angel. Parents in the Arlington County Detention Facility, as well as parents who have been recently released, are on probation, or are active in OAR’s programs may be eligible to send gifts to their children in this program. OAR does this in an effort to bridge the gap between those involved in the criminal justice system and their children, as these relationships are often strained and challenged during and after incarceration.

Donated toys and gifts should be new and unwrapped and appropriate for children ages newborn to 18. OAR does not accept donations of clothing or stuffed animals. Gifts for teens are especially needed, as most of the children eligible to receive gifts are between the ages of 12 and 18.

There are several ways to help:

  • Purchase gifts for teens via OAR’s Amazon wish list and have the items shipped to OAR’s office. Please include your name and contact information so we know who the donations are from.
  • Purchase gift cards for teens.  Denominations of $20-$25 to places like Target and Amazon are most needed.
  • Purchase gifts and drop them off at OAR’s office during business hours (1400 N. Uhle Street, Suite 704, Arlington, VA 22201; Monday through Friday 8:30am-12:00pm and 1:00pm-5:00pm).
  • Donate via OAR’s website to help fund the project. We need to purchase items such as wrapping supplies and postage to mail gifts to children that live outside of the DC area. Be sure to indicate on the “Messages or Comments” line that you’d like your donation to go toward Project Christmas Angel.
  • Volunteer as a driver to help OAR pick up donated items from sites around Arlington and the metro DC area.
  • OAR has toy donation boxes set up at businesses, faith communities, and civic organizations during the month of October.  Donations can be made directly at the following sites:
    • Arlington Federal Credit Union, 5666 Columbia Pike, Falls Church, VA
    • Arlington Federal Credit Union, 2130 N Glebe Rd, Arlington, VA
    • Arlington Federal Credit Union, 4121 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA
    • Arlington Sheriff’s Office, 1425 N Courthouse Road, Suite 9100, Arlington, VA
    • American Chemical Society, 1155 16th St NW, Washington, DC
    • Bethel United Church of Christ, 4347 Arlington Blvd, Arlington, VA
    • Church of the Covenant, 2666 Military Rd, Arlington, VA
    • Madison Community Center, 3829 N Stafford St, Arlington, VA
    • Resurrection Lutheran Church, 6201 Washington Blvd, Arlington, VA
    • Rock Spring Congregational United Church of Christ, 5010 Little Falls Rd, Arlington, VA
    • Segue Technologies, 2300 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA
    • Super Star Tickets, 2305 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA
    • Thomas Jefferson Community Center, 3501 S 2nd St, Arlington, VA
    • Walter Reed Community Center, 2909 S 16th St, Arlington, VA
    • Warden Tech, 2011 Crystal Drive, Suite 400, Arlington, VA
    • YMCA, 3422 N 13th St, Arlington, VA

More information will be coming soon about ways in which to get involved with OAR’s Project Christmas Angel in December. The event will be held Wednesday, December 14, 2016 from 6:30 to 9:00pm at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church. RSVP information will be posted to OAR’s website in November.

If you have any questions, please contact Heather Pritchett, Director of Development and Outreach, at 703-228-7435 or hpritchett@oaronline.org.

Sing Out Logo

OAR will host an event to raise awareness of the value of giving second chances.  The event is “Sing Out for Second Chances” and will feature several choirs from local faith communities who will sing featured songs.  OAR will provide information about programs and participants between performances.  This event is a fundraiser for OAR, and 100% of the proceeds will directly benefit OAR’s programs.  More details about the event can be found below.

Sing Out for Second Chances

Saturday, October 15, 2016


First Baptist Church of Alexandria, 2932 King St, Alexandria, VA 22302

Price is $18/ticket for the Early Bird price until October 8th.  Thereafter, the price increases to $20/ticket.

Questions about this event?  Please contact Heather Pritchett, Director of Development and Outreach, at hpritchett@oaronline.org or 703-228-7435.

OAR and Rock Spring Church to Host Panel on Parole, April 20, 2016

Parole Review JPEG

To view the flier for the event, please click here.

Arlington, VA:  Should parole be reinstated in Virginia?  Members of the Virginia Commission on Parole Review, appointed by Governor McAuliffe last summer, will report on their findings at a panel discussion sponsored by Offender Aid and Restoration (OAR) and Rock Spring Congregational United Church of Christ in Arlington.

The panel discussion will be held at Rock Spring Church, located at 5010 Little Falls Road, Arlington, Virginia 22207.  The program is from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.  All are welcome.

The panel will address many of the critical questions discussed by the Commission, and provide background information that is public, but often not known to or reviewed by the general public, including:  What were the factors leading to removal of parole in Virginia 20 years ago?  What have been the quantifiable impacts to Virginians by not having parole?  What does the term “truth in sentencing” mean in the context of parole policies?  What does the Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission do in monitoring sentencing laws in the state?  What is the typical length of sentence for various types of criminal charges? What alternatives to prison are available, or should be available? What are other states doing in terms of parole and sentencing reform?

Three members of the Commission from Arlington will serve on the panel, along with a former President of American Probation and Parole Association:

Faye S. Taxman, Ph.D., is a University Professor in the Criminology, Law and Society Department and Director of the Center for Advancing Correctional Excellence at George Mason University. She is recognized for her work in the development of systems-of-care models that link the criminal justice system with other service delivery systems, as well as her work in reengineering probation and parole supervision services and in organizational change models.

Bill Richardson, who as a lawyer in private practice, participated in in several initiatives to bring about criminal justice reform in Virginia, and works for the Federal Communications Commission.  He continues to be an advocate for common sense reform and has a unique historical perspective on the key issues from a legal point of view.

Gail Arnall, Ph.D., served for ten years as Executive Director of Offender Aid and Restoration (OAR), before retiring last summer. She is currently OAR’s Development and Outreach Consultant.  She knows the impact of imprisonment on families and our community, and is an advocate for alternative sentencing options.

Al Schuman was the Director of Social Services for the Superior Court in the District of Columbia where he directed the juvenile and adult probation system for 22 years.  Prior to that, he served as the Director of Youth Services for the District of Columbia Department of Corrections that included serving as superintendent of a correctional institution and parole supervision for all Federal Youth Corrections Act offenders.  He was the President of the American Probation and Parole Association at the time when probation was abolished in Virginia.

Copies of the Executive Summary of the recommendations from the Commission on Parole Review will be made available at the panel discussion.  The full report and Executive Summary can be found at:  https://parolecommission.virginia.gov/resources/final-report/2015-12-04-parole-commission-final-report.pdf.

OAR, a community-based restorative justice organization, blends compassion and accountability to assist offenders in leading productive and responsible lives, to the benefit of all.  Founded in 1974, OAR has served Arlington County and the Cities of Alexandria and Falls Church for over 42 years.  OAR offers courses inside the Arlington County Detention Facility, and also works with individuals pre-release in various correctional facilities to help them prepare to return home.  OAR offers reentry services to those who have been recently released, including emergency services, transitional services such as employment assistance, and intensive services for individuals who are at medium to high risk of recidivism.  OAR also manages the court-ordered community service function for Arlington and Falls Church courts.  In fiscal year 2015, OAR served 2,698 individuals.

For any latest announcements about the event, please check the following website: www.oaronline.org/parole-panel-April-20th