OAR Project Backpack 2023 | Back-to-school Children & Families Program

Run time: July 2023 – August 2023

OAR’s Project Backpack annual back-to-school children and families program supports children and families with a parent experiencing incarceration or has been recently released from incarceration for the upcoming 2023-2024 academic school year. This program was created to help strengthen and mend the bond that is often strained and broken as a family member experiences incarceration. OAR will be working with the residents in the local facilities as well as participants involved in our direct services programs for Project Backpack.

In the past, OAR has hosted a back-to-school drive collecting new backpacks and school supplies for children and families impacted by incarceration. The pandemic allowed us to spruce up our liberation practices and center participants more deeply. Starting 2020 and moving forward, we are providing gift card/e-gift card/check to each family involved in this program to limit the number of physical items being passed around and to allow families the autonomy to purchase what they need with the funds.

With that in mind, the goal for this program is to provide each child with a $50 gift card/e-gift card/cash/check. This way, the families can choose to use these gift cards/funds for whatever they need. Along with each gift card, each child will also receive a letter from their parent experiencing incarceration, letting them know that the gift is coming from them and wishing them luck in the upcoming school year.

Please see more below on how to support OAR’s Project Backpack and where you can donate. Your gifts towards this program will help us purchase gift cards for each child, help with the mailing of all of the gift cards and letters, and purchasing any supplies and resources needed for this program.

HOW TO SUPPORT OAR’S PROJECT BACKPACK 2023

  • Donate online on the OAR website on our Children and Families programs donation form here. We will be collecting donations for Project Backpack until the September 10th, 2021.
  • Mail a check to the OAR P.O Box (P.O. Box 41030, Arlington, VA 22204) for Project Backpack. Please include a note that the check donation is specifically for OAR’s Project Backpack program.
  • Mail gift card donations to places like VISA, Target, Amazon, Walmart, preferably in denominations of $50, to the OAR P.O Box (P.O. Box 41030, Arlington, VA 22204) for Project Backpack. Please include a note that the gift card are specifically for OAR’s Project Backpack program.
  • Host a gift card drive on OAR’s behalf! Mailed VISA gift cards have been a very popular option chosen by the families in this program (with Target and Amazon gift cards coming in second and third place for most wanted). If you are intersted in hosting a gift card drive on OAR’s behalf, please contact Stephannie Ku at sku@oaronline.org.
  • Volunteer for Project Backpack! We are currently looking for volunteers to help us with data entry and guardian outreach phone calls, as well as local volunteers in the DMV/Arlington area to help us go out and purchase gift cards/mail gift cards. All volunteers will be reimbursed. If you are interested in volunteering for Project Backpack in any capacity, please contact Stephannie Ku at sku@oaronline.org.

For all questions, volunteer inquiries, and more please contact Stephannie Ku at sku@oaronline.org

OAR Celebrates Freedom and Liberation for Juneteenth

June 19, 2023

Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, holds a profound historical and cultural significance in the United States. It commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, and proclaimed freedom for the remaining enslaved Black people, nearly two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. Juneteenth represents the end of chattel slavery for Black people in the United States and highlights the enduring struggle for equality and justice.

Juneteenth has only been recognized as a federal holiday since 2021, but we at OAR of Arlington, Alexandria, and Falls Church have celebrated Juneteenth for many years now as we have been on the journey for racial justice and liberation for all. Throughout the entire year, but on Juneteenth especially, OAR gives special honor to and celebrates the achievements, contributions, cultural heritage, ancestors, and liberation of Black people. We are emboldened by their perseverance and resilience in the face of injustice and seek to honor their spirit in our work. We take today as another opportunity to affirm our commitment to dismantling racism in all systems, particularly the criminal legal system, and promoting justice, healing, and freedom for all, especially for OAR participants and their families. 

Although Juneteenth is also a call for community, radical love and joy, and celebration, it is also a reminder that our country has a deep-rooted history of anti-Black racism and calls us to take an explicitly pro-Black stand and emphasizes the importance of OAR’s work and fight for liberation. In order to celebrate freedom for all, we need to have freedom for all. 

Today, let us all recommit ourselves to the journey for racial justice and liberation. It is not enough to simply commemorate the past; we must actively work towards a future where all can thrive and be free. 

For more about Juneteenth: https://calendar.eji.org/racial-injustice/jun/19 

For more about OAR’s Upstream and Downstream Work: https://vimeo.com/816714290

OAR Presents: Meet the Candidates Forum 2023

OAR Presents: Meet the Candidates Forum 2023

Commonwealth Attorney for Arlington County and City of Falls Church and Arlington County Sheriff

Thursday, April 6, 2023, 7 pm (EST)

George Mason University (Arlington Campus)

On April 6 at 7 pm, OAR of Arlington, Alexandria, and Falls Church will host a candidate forum for local races that involve the criminal legal system. Candidates for Commonwealth’s Attorney for Arlington County and the City of Falls Church and candidates for Arlington County Sheriff will discuss their qualifications for office and critical issues related to public safety.

This is a free, open event for the community. Please click here fill out the RSVP form on our website if you would like to attend so we can send you more details about the event.

CLICK HERE TO RSVP

Candidates for Commonwealth’s Attorney for Arlington County and the City of Falls Church:

  • Parisa Deghani-Taft (incumbent)
  • Josh Katcher

Candidates for Arlington County Sheriff:

  • Jose Quiroz (incumbent)
  • Wanda Younger
  • James Herring

OAR is a nonpartisan, community-based nonprofit organization that envisions a safe and thriving community where those impacted by the legal system enjoy equal civil and human rights. Through our Upstream work, we are confronting and dismantling individual racism and racism in the legal system and across all systems. Our Downstream work allows us to be on the journey with individuals of all genders returning from incarceration and their families. We also offer alternative sentencing options (including community service) and diversion programs so people can avoid the trauma of incarceration and instead help the community thrive.

OAR is hosting this event through its Action Network. The Action Network falls under OAR’s Upstream efforts. Through the Action Network we challenge racist policies and programs by empowering and amplifying the voices of communities traditionally marginalized and discriminated. The candidate forum is one of several opportunities for community members interested in hearing from those seeking some of the most influential offices in our local criminal legal system. Candidates will answer questions about their vision for Arlington County and Falls Church and how they will prioritize racial justice as they carry out their duties.

Questions? Contact OAR at advocacy@oaronline.org or call us at 703-228-7030.

Your 2022 Impact

2022 Impact Thanks To Your Support

Introducing OAR Participant Dean

OAR’s Annual Virtual Liberation Fundraising Breakfast 2023

About

Join us for OAR’s 15th Annual Liberation Fundraising Breakfast virtual event! We are inviting you and your loved ones to join us for an inspiring event filled with joy, love, and celebration for OAR participants, their families, and this journey we are on.

Details

Date – Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Time – 8:00am (EST)

Where – Virtual Event (RSVP is required in order to receive the link to join)

CLICK HERE TO RSVP

Project Winter Cheer 2022-2023

About OAR’s Project Winter Cheer:

OAR’s Project Winter Cheer program supports children and families impacted by incarceration for the winter season. It is crucial that family relationships are maintained while a parent is incarcerated and after their release and that no child is forgotten during this time. We ask that you – members and organizations of the community – also keep these children in mind and get involved in supporting this fantastic program!
This program aims to provide each child with a $50 gift card/e-gift card/check. This way, the families have the autonomy and liberation to use these funds for whatever they need (holiday gifts, winter clothes, bills, food, etc). With the $50, each child receives a note from their parent (that has been kept safe for two weeks before sending it out), letting them know that the gift is coming from them and wishing them love during the winter season.
Thanks to your support, we supported over 150 children impacted by incarceration through Project Winter Cheer last year. We want to continue spreading love and joy to these children and families, so please read more below on how to support this critical program.

How to Support: 

We will be collecting donations of gift cards/online donations for Project Winter Cheer until the end of January 2023!

  • Donate gift cards/Host a gift card drive! Gift cards (VISA is the most popular option) in denominations of $25, $50, or $100. If you would like to mail gift cards, please mail them to OAR at P.O. Box 41030, Arlington, VA 22204. If you would like to drop the gift cards off at the OAR office, please contact Stephannie Ku at sku@oaronline.org.
  • Donate on the OAR website specifically to our children and family programs (Project Connection/Project Backpack/Project Winter Cheer) online here. We have this donation form up year-round.
  • Volunteer to help with guardian outreach, data entry, and purchasing and mailing gift cards on behalf of OAR (some virtual and some in-person). We especially need local volunteers for the purchasing and mailing of gift cards. Please email Stephannie Ku at sku@oaronline.org if you are interested in volunteering for any Project Winter Cheer related opportunities.
  • Help spread the word! Please help us share our social media posts about Project Winter Cheer, post on your own social media, send your friends and family the fundraiser link, etc.
  • Sponsor Project Winter Cheer! Interested in sponsoring this program? Please contact Stephannie Ku at sku@oaronline.org.

Questions? Contact Stephannie Ku at sku@oaronline.org or call 571-771-3245

OAR Raising Funds for Virginia’s First Gender-Responsive Re-Entry Program

OAR is a local non-profit that supports individuals impacted by the criminal legal system on their journey to rejoining their community and families. The organization is now raising money for the state’s first gender-responsive re-entry program.

Individuals who identify as female have a different set of needs and different reentry experiences from those who identify as male. For example, the majority of women who experience incarceration are primary caregivers to minor children and a crucial part of the re-entry process requires supporting their needs as the head of a family. They are also much more likely than their male-identifying counterparts to have experienced a long history of abuse prior to incarceration. Therefore, tailored services that address that trauma lead to the best outcomes.

Unfortunately, this critical care is scarce or unavailable. A recent assessment of gender-responsive policies and practices in the City of Alexandria found a dearth of gender responsive care in the area. OAR’s new program seeks to fill that void. It will provide gender-responsive and liberation-minded therapeutic services, including individual and group psychotherapy, tailored case management plans, and family reunification support to female-identifying individuals who are coming home to Alexandria, Arlington, and the City Falls Church after experiencing incarceration. Some participants may also enroll in a guaranteed basic income pilot program that provides a monthly stipend over the course of 5 months.

“Women coming out of incarceration have typically suffered multiple lifetime traumas that can disrupt successful reintegration into their families and communities,” says Katy Steinbruck, a 22-year member of the OAR Collective who is spearheading the program. “By using innovative support plans that address the distinct pathways to incarceration and rehabilitation experienced by those who identify as female, we can provide our participants with the services that actually meet their needs.”

OAR’s program has enrolled 20 women since its launch on April 19th of this year and is regularly fielding requests to take on more. To that end, OAR is seeking additional grant funding to expand the number of participants this program can serve. It must raise $6,000 by August 12 in order to qualify for a $100,000 grant from the Gannett Foundation. Donations can be made until 9PM (EST) on August 12 here. If you would like to make a gift towards this program after the fundraising date, our fundraiser will be ongoing. Additionally, information on how to provide ongoing donations to the program, or any of OAR’s other programs, can be found at OAR’s general website: www.oaronline.org.

OAR Project Backpack 2022 | Back-to-school Children & Families Program

Run time: July 2022 – October 2022

OAR’s Project Backpack supports children and families with a parent experiencing incarceration or has been recently released from incarceration for the upcoming 2022-2023 academic school year. This program was created to help strengthen and mend the bond that is often strained and broken as a family member experiences incarceration. OAR will be working with the residents in the local facilities as well as participants involved in our direct services programs for Project Backpack.

In the past, OAR has hosted a back-to-school drive collecting new backpacks and school supplies for children and families impacted by incarceration. The pandemic allowed us to spruce up our liberation practices and center participants more deeply. Starting 2020 and moving forward, we are providing gift card/e-gift card/check to each family involved in this program to limit the number of physical items being passed around.

With that in mind, the goal for this program is to provide each child with a $50 gift card/e-gift card/cash/check. This way, the families can choose to use these gift cards/funds for whatever they need. Along with each gift card, each child will also receive a letter from their parent experiencing incarceration, letting them know that the gift is coming from them and wishing them luck in the upcoming school year.

Please see more below on how to support OAR’s Project Backpack and where you can donate. Your gifts towards this program will help us purchase gift cards for each child, help with the mailing of all of the gift cards and letters, and purchasing any supplies and resources needed for this program.

HOW TO SUPPORT OAR’S PROJECT BACKPACK 2022

  • Donate online on the OAR website on our Children and Families programs donation form here. We will be collecting donations for Project Backpack until the September 10th, 2021.
  • Mail a check to the OAR P.O Box (P.O. Box 41030, Arlington, VA 22204) for Project Backpack. Please include a note that the check donation is specifically for OAR’s Project Backpack program.
  • Mail gift card donations to places like VISA, Target, Amazon, Walmart, preferably in denominations of $25 and $50, to the OAR P.O Box (P.O. Box 41030, Arlington, VA 22204) for Project Backpack. Please include a note that the gift card are specifically for OAR’s Project Backpack program.
  • Host a gift card drive on OAR’s behalf! Mailed VISA gift cards have been a very popular option chosen by the families in this program (with Target and Amazon gift cards coming in second and third place for most wanted). If you are intersted in hosting a gift card drive on OAR’s behalf, please contact Stephannie Ku at sku@oaronline.org.
  • Volunteer for Project Backpack! We are currently looking for volunteers to help us with data entry and guardian outreach phone calls, as well as local volunteers in the DMV/Arlington area to help us go out and purchase gift cards/mail gift cards. All volunteers will be reimbursed. If you are interested in volunteering for Project Backpack in any capacity, please contact Stephannie Ku at sku@oaronline.org.

For all questions, volunteer inquiries, and more please contact Stephannie Ku at sku@oaronline.org

Project Winter Cheer 2021-2022

*Disclamer: If you have not already read our update on OAR’s Project Winter Cheer program from last year, please click here to learn more and read below. We will NOT be hosting a toy-drive and a wrapping party this year, please read below for more information.*


About Project Winter Cheer:

OAR’s Project Winter Cheer program supports children and families impacted by incarceration for the winter season. It is so important to us that family relationships are maintained while a parent is incarcerated and after their release, and that no child is forgotten during the winter/holiday season. We ask that you – members and organizations of the community – also keep these children in mind and get involved in supporting this amazing program!

Our goal for this program is to provide each child with a $50 gift card/e-gift card/cash/check/or direct deposit. This way, the families can choose to use these funds for whatever they need (holiday gifts, winter clothes, bills, food, etc). Along with the $50, each child receives a note from their parent (that has been kept safely for 2 weeks prior to sending out), letting them know that the gift is coming from them and wishing them love during the winter season. 

How to Support: 

We are still currently collecting donations of gift cards/online donations for Project Winter Cheer until the end of January 2022!

  • Donate gift cards (ex. VISA, Target, Amazon, Walmart are the most popular) in denominations of $25, $50, or $100 and mail them to the OAR office (1400 N. Uhle Street, Suite 704, Arlington, VA 22201).
  • Donate on the OAR website specifically to our children and family programs (Project Connection/Project Backpack/Project Winter Cheer) online here. We have this donation form up year-round.
  • Volunteer to help with guardian outreach, data entry, and purchasing and mailing gift cards on behalf of OAR (some virtual and some in-person). We especially need local volunteers for the purchasing and mailing of gift cards. Please email Stephannie Ku at sku@oaronline.org if you are interested in volunteering for any Project Winter Cheer related opportunities.
  • Help spread the word! Please help us share our social media posts about Project Winter Cheer, post on your own social media, send your friends and family the fundraiser link, etc.

Questions? Contact Stephannie Ku at sku@oaronline.org or call 703-228-7132

OAR Project Backpack 2021

OAR’s back-to-school program, Project Backpack, has officially kicked off! OAR’s Project Backpack supports children and families with a parent experiencing incarceration or has been recently released from incarceration for the upcoming 2021-2022 academic school year. This program was created to help strengthen and mend the bond that is often strained and broken as a family member experiences incarceration.

In the past, OAR has collected new backpacks and school supplies for children and families impacted by incarceration. The pandemic allowed us to spruce up our liberation practices and center participants more deeply. Moving forward, we will now be providing gift card/e-gift card/cash/check/or direct deposit to each family to limit the number of physical items being passed around.

With that in mind, the goal for this program is to provide each child with a $50 gift card/e-gift card/cash/check/or direct deposit. This way, the families can choose to use these gift cards/funds for whatever they need. Along with each gift card, each child will also receive a letter from their parent experiencing incarceration, letting them know that the gift is coming from them and wishing them luck in the upcoming school year.

Along with each gift card, each child will also receive a letter from their parent experiencing incarceration, letting them know that the gift is coming from them and wishing them luck on the upcoming school year.

Please see more below on how to support OAR’s Project Backpack and where you can donate. Your gifts towards this program will help us purchase gift cards for each child, help with the mailing of all of the gift cards and letters, and purchasing any supplies and resources needed for this program.

HOW TO SUPPORT OAR’S PROJECT BACKPACK 2021

  • Donate online on the OAR website on our Children and Families programs donation form here. We will be collecting donations for Project Backpack until the September 10th, 2021.
  • Mail a check to the OAR office (1400 N. Uhle St, Suite 704, Arlington, VA 22201) for Project Backpack. Please include a note that the check donation is specifically for OAR’s Project Backpack program.
  • Mail gift card donations to places like VISA, Target, Amazon, Walmart, preferably in denominations of $25 and $50, to the OAR office (1400 N. Uhle St, Suite 704, Arlington, VA 22201) for Project Backpack. Please include a note that the gift card are specifically for OAR’s Project Backpack program.
  • Volunteer for Project Backpack! We are currently looking for volunteers to help us with data entry and guardian outreach phone calls, as well as local volunteers in the DMV/Arlington area to help us go out and purchase gift cards/mail gift cards. All volunteers will be reimbursed. If you are interested in volunteering for Project Backpack in any capacity, please contact Stephannie Ku at sku@oaronline.org.