The City of Newark and New Jersey Clean Communities Council hosted the Eleventh Annual Gateway to a Cleaner Newark/Slam Dunk the Junk citywide cleanup on Thursday, October 3, 2013. Alumni Members and Residents of EHCA programs participated in the community service event shown above.
Monthly Alumni Meeting Schedule
Successful graduates of the programs EHCA has in place have formed an alumni association in order to support residents still working on completing the program. This resource provides incredible support for former offenders as they face the obstacles and difficulties associated with their transition from treatment back into the community. The association includes former program participants. Alumni services include referral assistance in employment, housing, and educational and vocational training. Newly released offenders are assisted in identifying and connecting with local self-help services. This group also gauges the efficacy of treatment by tracking offenders after they leave the program.
Alumni of our programs often act as mentors to those currently involved in the criminal justice system. As mentors, alumni meet with residents and encourage them to set goals, find jobs, obtain social services, and obtain housing. Ex-offenders who are no longer in the criminal justice system and have been successful in the community can become important role models in the lives of transitional offenders. The reentry population faces many obstacles upon returning home that challenge their continued recovery. Some return to situations where negative poor influences increase the likelihood of a relapse. Others feel isolated after their incarceration, finding it difficult to share their feelings with family and friends who may not understand the emotions involved during a period of incarceration. Exiting program participants are provided with contact information of alumni association members who are available twenty-‐four hours a day, and are encouraged to return to the facility for additional counseling and guidance in the event that reintegration challenges arise.
Alumni meetings are held monthly at EHCA facilities and provide a forum in which current residents witness the successes of former program participants. At the meetings Alumni members reflect on their pasts and their reentry experiences. Speakers offer concrete examples of their use of skills acquired as program participants, and provide hope and inspiration to their audience. Prior to the meetings, residents are encouraged to speak with Alumni members about individual concerns and circumstances.
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