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The youth of today, are the leaders of tomorrow. In order to make this a reality an intentional investment in our youth is necessary. The founders of Align Community have joined together to facilitate the development and empowerment of these future leaders. The organization has identified five (5) key elements to success: Mentoring, Advising, Community Outreach, Health & Wellness, and Spiritual Guidance. Through a variety of programming efforts they are preparing the next generation to lead.
Our flagship program, Rites of Passage, was originally designed in the African tradition of teaching young men the life skills necessary to be productive, impactful members of their community. Based on the core principles that men should actively protect, provide and guide their communities this program has already paid dividends since its implementation two decades ago. Carnell Troutman has been on the frontlines to equip our children for a prosperous future for decades, and has been a tireless advocate on behalf of the youth. He and his wife, Barbara Troutman, have designed a program that evolves with the changing times while remaining centered in timeless values. The mentorship provided by the facilitators of this program, coupled with the advisement the youth share with each other creates an environment that will help to diminish many ills faced in our community.
Through the knowledge gained facilitating the Rites of Passage Program the founders realized that more was needed to truly prepare the youth in the local community. Hoping to fill the gaps identified in the educational system we are making one-on-one tutoring programs available, as well as access to resources that many economically challenged students do not have access to. This program designed by Ronda Campbell, a licensed and tenured educator, will give our children the boost they need to meet and exceed their educational goals.
Another area of concern in our community has been the health of our children. Many of our youth lack access to proper nutrition. The result has been a rise in juvenile obesity as well as diabetes. To combat this growing health crisis we have implemented a health and wellness program to teach these young people the importance of physical activity and proper diet.
The future requires our children to have a firm grasp on technology, and we are making that knowledge available to them. One of our founders, Daryl Wade, is a pillar in the technology sector and knows the skills these young people will need to succeed in their careers. He has designed a program that will not only prepare them for the future but teach them skills they can apply immediately in their everyday lives and schoolwork.
Pastor Kevin Fisher, with over 30 years of experience in ministry, has spearheaded our Spiritual Guidance program. Hoping to instill in our youth an understanding of different cultures and various religions. The purpose of this program is to assist youth with understanding the often sought deeper meanings of life as well as helping them to better define their purpose in life. The youth will learn in this program the inner-connectedness of all human beings, and with this knowledge be better prepared to interact with people from various cultural backgrounds. With an emphasis on empathy and understanding, the skills gained from this course will result in a more unified and tolerant community.
What makes Align Community unique is our youth advisory board. Most organizations designed for youth never ask youth for their input. Each program described above has been, and will continue to be, created in partnership with our youth advisory board. The young people selected for this board are given the opportunity to utilize the skills they have gained to make a difference now. This opportunity to be instrumental in the structure and organization of Align Community provides them with an added skill set that will make them seasoned leaders in the future. Through community outreach all of the children who pass through Align Community will make a direct impact locally. Though the facilitators will organize the community outreach, the youth will conduct and execute these tasks. Every child who participates will not only be equipped with vital life skills but will put those skills to work.
A five-pronged approach that assists in the total rehabilitation of the individual and prepares them to re-enter society. Incarceration, in and of itself, is a very traumatic experience. This trauma is not limited to the individual that is incarcerated but to the community as a whole. It’s important to address all of the inter-related issues of crime and justice to create a sustainable change in the lives of these individuals. What separates our program from other programs is the individualized attention given to each client.
The first two phases of our program can be done in a group format, the last three must be done individually. As a group, we have identified that the primary issue with most re-entry programs is that there is no emphasis on the individual. Each one of these people are different, will be faced with different issues and it will require different strategies for them to have success. Many individuals we encounter have a “herd” mentality and that is the reason they have been unable to make a positive individual decision for themselves. Many of them have not taken responsibility for their life, it’s common to hear that they have done whatever they have done for the benefit of others. They must be taught to do what benefits themselves and be shown that by doing this the benefit to others is more impactful.
The “Rehabilitate” portion of the program is designed to assist the individual in their thinking. Change begins in the mind, without a change in one’s thinking there will be no change in the person. We help them to identify their barriers to success, habits that hinder them from reaching their fullest potential, and to eliminate limited belief systems. Participants complete this portion of the program with a refurbished sense of self, purpose, and responsibility.
The “Educate” portion of the program focuses on identifying the best career path for the individual moving forward. Once that is identified then we identify the necessary skills inherent to that career path. Utilizing this information we form a targeted approach to assisting them in receiving the “education” to be successful
“Strategize” assists them in life planning. This is a crucial step often not taken in re-entry. One must create actionable steps. Through creating those steps we hope to identify potential barriers along the path. This assists the client in developing resiliency. It’s easier to deal with problems when they are expected, and it’s easier to deal with unexpected problems when you have been taught a system to implement in creating solutions. These strategy sessions are not limited to employment and education. Many people incarcerated deal with addiction, unhealthy relationships, decision making, and a compromised value system. It’s essential that they are taught a new way of dealing with issues so that they don’t resort to old and comfortable ways that will result in recidivism.
The next phase, “Execute”, is perhaps the most crucial. During this phase, the client needs to be held accountable for the decisions and choices made throughout the next three steps. If done correctly all they have to do is implement the new things they have been taught. They are still provided with one-on-one counseling/coaching, yet the purpose of the one-on-one counseling/coaching in this instance is more for encouragement and accountability.
The final phase is self-explanatory, “Triumph”. If the client follows the path they have designed they will receive the result they are looking for.
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