Success Stories & Testimonials

These stories and testimonials presented here are individual successes told in detail – real people, real stories, real achievement.

We at OAR applaud the determination, courage and strength of character evident in these success stories. Each is unique, each totally original, each in its own way extraordinary.

OAR’s Ethical Storytelling Philosophy

OAR also uses people-first and strength-based language and sees participants as experts on themselves and leaders for their own life and plans.  We constantly seek feedback and guidance from participants and pride ourselves on having an ethical storytelling philosophy that respects the dignity and protects the privacy of each person we work with. We do not use the actual names, photos, or videos of OAR participants to protect their privacy.

Michael’s Reentry Journey

Michael’s involvement with the criminal  justice system began at age 12 with a variety  of drug related charges. He was finishing two, five-year sentences at Coffeewood Correctional Center in Culpeper, VA when he began working with OAR. For 10 months prior to his release, Michael met with OAR once a week for two-hour sessions. During these weekly sessions, Michael worked with his an OAR Reentry Collective member to create a resume, discover strengths and talents which he could bring to the workforce upon his release, and identify jobs which matched his skills and interests. Michael also worked with an OAR Reentry Collective member on addressing issues he had been struggling with, such as coping with the loss of his mother and older brother during his period of incarceration, through self-reflection and motivational therapy. Throughout his sessions with OAR, Michael frequently stated, “When I talk I can tell that you are listening and care what I’m saying. While I’m here in this room, I forget that I’m in a prison…” Read More >

Rebecca’s Alternative Sentencing Journey

Rebecca had over 100 hours of court-mandated community service to complete through OAR’s Alternative Sentencing Program. During Rebecca’s intake appointment with an OAR Collective member, she was able to create a schedule to organize her time to complete all of her hours by her deadline while also balancing her regular work hours. Rebecca had very minimal experience volunteering before, but after connecting with OAR, she stated she was excited about the opportunity to work with different nonprofits in the area… Read More >

OAR Racial Justice + Liberation Cohort Participant Testimonial

“All my life, I was told that racism is caused by terrible people called racists. The label “racist” is so toxic that, among white people, simply raising the issue invites censure. However, as all protesters know, silence = complicity. By identifying racism as systemic, current scholarship on racism offers a way forward. This approach recognizes that racism is so pervasively systemic that it is in the very air we breathe… Read More >