I am so looking forward to the change in weather that April will bring just in time for our 11th Annual Second Chance Fundraising Breakfast, which will take place on Tuesday, April 9, 2019. We hope you can join us to hear an inspiring program about OAR's mission and how your support has impacted OAR participants like Jemma, whose story you can read more about below. You will also find below more information about how to RSVP or become a sponsor for this event.
I want to thank everyone who came out to our "Cycle for Second Chances" event held in March at CycleBar Columbia Pike! Thanks to all who joined us to ride to support second chances for men and women returning home from incarceration. Read below and see pictures from the event.
I am also thrilled to share with you all some very exciting new and upcoming initiatives that are in the works here at OAR! Below you can read more about how OAR is expanding its reentry services.
OAR's programs are thriving because of supporters like you and OAR volunteers like Sharon, who you can read about below in our Volunteer Spotlight. We are so excited about this new initiative and we can't wait to see what next month brings!
Elizabeth Jones Valderrama, MA, CVA Executive Director
A Participant Story: Meet "Jemma"*
Jemma came to OAR after she was court-ordered to complete 48 hours of community service. Never having done any volunteer work or community service, Jemma was nervous and felt a bit lost when she came in for her first meeting with her OAR Community Service Case Manager. After Jemma's Case Manager carefully explained the whole process and provided her with a list of possible sites at which she could complete her hours, Jemma felt more at ease knowing that she had all the help and information she needed to be successful. Jemma decided to complete the majority of her hours at a local animal rescue shelter, helping the staff there and working with abandoned animals to find them a loving home. Her site supervisor at the animal rescue shelter was so impressed by Jemma's hard work and consistency, she even wrote a lovely email to Jemma's Case Manager stating, "Jemma is a big help to our organization. She has become like my right hand! She's volunteered quite a bit with us now and she's an awesome volunteer, I love having her!" Jemma also completed a few hours helping out at OAR events. Jemma successfully completed all her court-mandated hours and closed out her case! Your support allowed Jemma to stay out of incarceration, and instead provide a meaningful service to our community for the greater benefit of all!
*Name changed to protect the privacy of the participant. The photo is a stock photo and not necessarily representative of the participant.
Cycle for Second Chances with OAR!
In March, OAR partnered with CycleBar Columbia Pike in Arlington, VA for the second year in a row to host an indoor cycling fundraising event, "Cycle for Second Chances." We rode to raise funds and awareness for second and fair chances for men and women returning home from incarceration. We raised $1,000 in support of OAR's programs. Thank you to everyone who came out to this event and to those who supported the cause even if you weren't able to attend! We had a fantastic time cycling for second and fair chances! A special thanks to CycleBar Columbia Pike for partnering with us once again to host this event! Click here to visit our Facebook Page to see more pictures of the event.
A Mental Health Support Initiative for OAR Participants
The Center for Prisoner Health and Rights reports that "people with mental illness are 4.5 times more likely to be arrested than those in the general population." Most correctional facilities lack adequate resources needed to help those seen as less critical and who are not necessarily in need of medication. To help bridge this gap and with the support of donors, OAR is expanding its reentry services at the Arlington County Detention Facility (ACDF) to include individual and group psychotherapy for those assessed as being medium to high risk of recidivism (being re-incarcerated). Working with the Arlington County Sheriff's Office and the staff at ACDF, we have brought in a group of licensed clinicians to conduct group sessions with individuals who will be returning to the community. We are excited to add a clinical therapeutic group as part of the reentry services provided by OAR, which will help participants address their mental health needs and allow them to thrive when they return to the community. Our goal is to be able to provide this much-needed service in the months following release as well. We will have additional information about this new initiative soon to come on our website and social media so stay tuned!
OAR's 11th Annual Second Chance Fundraising Breakfast
OAR's 11th Annual "Second Chance Fundraising Breakfast" will take place on Tuesday, April 9, 2019 at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, VA. Guests are invited to enjoy a free, hot breakfast and hear an inspiring program about individuals who have experienced OAR's programs. This is a fundraising event to support OAR's programs, but there is no minimum or 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. We are still looking for sponsors for this event. If you or anyone you know might be interested in sponsorship opportunities for this event, please contact Heather Pritchett at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And a special thanks to the Charles Rahmat Woods Trio who will be performing at the event!
Sharon began volunteering with OAR in May 2016 facilitating a Conflict Resolution course in the Arlington County Detention Facility. Her class meets once a week for seven weeks per course, and she teaches often. When asked why Sharon began volunteering with OAR, she shared, “When I retired from the U.S. Department of State, after forty rewarding and enjoyable years, I was looking for meaningful ways to volunteer in the community. I was at the Arlington County Fair in 2015, helping to Get Out the Vote. Afterward, as I was walking around the fair, the OAR booth caught my eye. The more I learned about OAR, the more inspired I became. More than half my career at the State Department was working with the United Nations to advance human rights—including achieving equal rights for women, ending racism, and promoting the participation of women and marginalized groups in conflict resolution and peacebuilding. OAR helps achieve, at the community level, the global goal of advancing human rights for all. OAR’s commitment to giving a second chance recognizes that this benefits not only the individual, but also his/her family, and the community at large. It’s truly an honor to volunteer with such a wonderful organization.” Sharon also shared the benefits she sees of the classes she is teaching in the jail: “I have been amazed at how engaged the students have been—asking questions; sharing their views; discussing ways to communicate better with family, friends, and co-workers. Their attitude and participation inspire and motivate me to look forward to each session.” We are so grateful for Sharon’s continued dedication and her willingness to share her time and talents with OAR!
Would you like to share your OAR volunteer story for a chance to be featured in future e-newsletters and on our social media? Contact email@example.com.
Interested in volunteering with OAR? Here are some upcoming volunteer opportunities!
Provide Administrative Support
Wednesday, April 10, 2019 - Tuesday, April 16, 2019, 10:00am - 5:00pm
Help the OAR team with post-event administrative support between the hours of 10am to 5pm on any of the days between Wednesday, April 10 through Tuesday, April 16 (excluding the weekend). Volunteers should be comfortable with basic computer work.
Represent OAR at a Business Network International (BNI) Meeting
Tuesday, May 14, 2019, 12:00pm - 1:30pm
Tuesday, June 4, 2019, 12:00pm - 1:30pm
Be OAR's representative at a Business Network International (BNI) meeting and get a chance to network with professionals in a variety of industries! We will provide you with all the information you need to know. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if interested.
Create Welcome Home Kits for OAR participants
Put together "Welcome Home" kits for OAR participants who have been recently released from incarceration. Examples of items that are needed are: long johns, long sleeve t-shirts, travel size toiletries, socks, hoodies, gloves, hats, and sweatpants. A complete kit does not have to include all of these items, these are just examples of items that are helpful. These kits can be packaged together in backpacks or tote bags. Please label the kits by size since many of the needed items are size-dependent. Keep in mind that over 90% of OAR's Reentry participants are men!
For all of the opportunities listed above, please contact Heather Pritchett at email@example.com to sign up! Thank you!
Second Chance Month
The month of April has been established by the United States Congress as "Second Chance Month" to honor the work of communities, governmental entities, nonprofit organizations, employers, and individuals to remove unnecessary legal and societal barriers that prevent an individual with a criminal history from thriving in the community. At OAR, our mission is to strengthen our community through second chances and we hope you can join us in spreading awareness about Second Chance Month!
OAR's Second Chance Fundraising Breakfast
Tuesday, April 9, 2019
Save the date for OAR's 11th Annual Second Chance Fundraising Breakfast! Come join OAR for a free, hot breakfast and to experience an amazing program about OAR's mission and hear participant stories. RSVP is required. Click hereto RSVP or email Heather Pritchett at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesday, April 10, 2019
Mark your calendars for Spring2ACTion 2019! Spring2ACTion is the City of Alexandria's very own Giving Day. OAR is proud to be participating in this event once again this year to celebrate the commitment of local nonprofits to make Alexandria a better place to live, work, and serve! For more information, visit OAR's Spring2ACTion campaign page here.
Do More 24
Wednesday, May 22, 2019
United Way of the National Capital Area presents the 7th Annual Do More 24! Do More 24 is a 24 hour Giving Day specific to nonprofit organizations in the Washington D.C. metro area that collectively focuses on engaging donors, partners, and volunteers in an effort to do more throughout the community. We will be sharing more information on Do More 24 as the day approaches on our website and social media, so stay tuned and get ready to do more with OAR!
May 2019 - August 2019
For the second year in a row, OAR will be having a back-to-school drive, collecting new backpacks and school supplies for children who have a parent incarcerated locally. Starting early May, you can support OAR's Project Backpack program by donating supplies through our Project Backpack Amazon Wishlist or by donating funds that will help cover the mailing costs to send backpacks and supplies to children who live outside of the local delivery area! We will also be having donation boxes set up in the community during this drive. Stay tuned on our social media and our website for more information as we get closer to the date!
Learn more about OAR at a free tour!
Want to learn more about us? Want to volunteer? Join us for a free one-hour tour of our mission at the OAR office! Guests will hear about OAR's programs and services from the team members who are working in the programs, tour the OAR office, and hear participant success stories. We promise to end on time and to have snacks you can enjoy! Below is a list of upcoming dates and times. Please sign up here or contact Heather Pritchett at email@example.com.