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The Anchor, FailSafe-ERA October Newsletter

CEO’s Corner

From FailSafe-ERA President and CEO

Juanita Shanks

Building a nonprofit organization from the ground up is both challenging and rewarding. As each of FailSafe-ERA’s volunteers will tell you – they are not in it for the profit – rather – they are dedicating their time, energy and commitment to share what they have freely with others who are less fortunate. The programs and efforts that FailSafe-ERA takes on every day are truly making a difference in so many lives in our local community.

Some of the crucial key elements to success are fundraising and training, ensuring the team has the appropriate resources, and building board performance and organizational effectiveness. FailSafe-ERA appreciates the efforts of Andie McConnell, of McConnell Consulting, who recently provided exceptional training in all of those areas for FailSafe-ERA's board members, focusing on their many roles and responsibilities as leaders of the FailSafe-ERA organization. Following the training session, the board voted and unanimously selected Bobby Anderson (pictured below) as the chairman of FailSafe-ERA.

We'll have a message from Bobby in the next edition of The Anchor.


Juanita Shanks

President and CEO


Returning citizens share their success stories

FailSafe-ERA continues to recognize and acknowledge the importance of coaching and mentoring its clients to ensure that they receive beneficial feedback to help them design a framework for success, as well as support their growth to meet their personal and professional development challenges head-on. Recently, Bruce Thomas (B.A.T. Coaching) donated multiple sessions of coaching to help us achieve those goals. As always, FailSafe-ERA is proud to highlight the accomplishments of returning citizens, who are giving back to the community in so many different ways. This month, three of those superstars shared their stories with us and highlighted how FailSafe-ERA has supported them. Pictured at bottom, from left to right are Danica Baxter, Antoine Carey and Tony Roman.

FailSafe-ERA partners with international roadway safety association to provide training and jobs for returning citizens

FailSafe-ERA and the American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA) are joining forces in a mutual partnership to help those affected by incarceration find meaningful, good paying jobs as roadway flaggers in the transportation industry. The Right Road Job Training and Placement Program will prepare returning citizens for employment in the workforce as road workers. The 2019 pilot program is divided into two parts. The first part is FailSafe-ERAs five-day (40 hours) preparation course. The second part of the program is ATSSA’s nationally renowned Flagger Training Course.

Following the successful completion of the ATSSA course, participants will be placed in positions within ATSSA member companies who have volunteered to participate in the pilot program. If the pilot program is successful, the Right Road Job Training and Placement Program will expand throughout Virginia and across the country. The program is seeking financial sponsors as well as possible participants for the class, who will be screened prior to acceptance into the program. Please contact FailSafe-ERA’s Director of Communications James Baron at 202-430-4999, or by email at for more information. For more information on ATSSA, visit

Local organization honored for their contributions to FailSafe-ERA's programs

FailSafe-ERA participated in the first FredAlive Community Stars celebration on September 17 to recognize local businesses that support local nonprofits. FailSafe-ERA’s President and CEO Juanita Shanks (top) recognized Deb Lokrantz (right) of Fredericksburg’s Office on Youth for that organization’s outstanding contributions to FailSafe-ERA’s programs. Presenting the award was Fredericksburg Mayor Mary Katherine Greenlaw.

Youth Speaks Toastmasters Program begins second program at RJDC

FailSafe-ERA will kick-off its second eight-week Youth Speaks Toastmasters Program at the Rappahannock Juvenile Detention Center (RJDC) on Monday, October 8. FailSafe-ERA will partner again with Dr. Janet Hodges and her incredible staff. Feedback so far has revealed that residents are demonstrating improved literacy skills in speaking, writing, listening and critical thinking. There is also an increase in self-confidence and self-esteem among participants in the classes.

Additionally, two residents of RJDC who recently completed FailSafe-ERA’s Toastmaster Leadership Program are currently enrolled in online college courses. Those students continue to use the skills that they acquired in the public speaking portion of FailSafe-ERA’s training to provide verbal feedback to peers once essays and other written assignments are completed.

Community Day of Service allows FailSafe-ERA to give back to local residents

FailSafe-ERA conducted its most recent Community Day of Service on Sept. 29 at the Thurman Brisben Center, Fredericksburg. The organization’s youth volunteers lent a helping hand during playtime in the children's corner, while returning citizen Antoine Carey and James Green of Faded & Company barbershop provided free haircuts to the residents. A special thanks to Salem Church Library for the donated items to the center, and to the Rappahannock Electric Cooperative for sponsoring the community day of service event. FailSafe-ERA’s final community day of service for 2018 will be serving breakfast to Thurman Brisben’s residents on Christmas morning. Please mark your calendars on December 25 for a fulfilling morning of community service.

Latest local partnership brings essential workshops to local jail

FailSafe-ERA has recently partnered with the Rappahannock Regional Jail Chaplain Jack Richards to provide pre-release workshops to inmates of the Rappahannock Regional Jail. The workshops are designed to provide the inmates with information and prompt discussions on topics such as financial planning, parenting and resiliency.

FailSafe-ERA staff members James Baron and Doug Taylor are representing the organization by facilitating the resiliency workshop. The use of resiliency skills has proven to be important to the successful reintegration of returning citizens into their families and the local communities. The workshop also provides the participants an opportunity to recognize how resilient they are and demonstrates ways to help returning citizens become more resilient in the process.

FailSafe-ERA’s new Toastmasters Club will offer opportunities in public speaking, leadership

FailSafe-ERA is launching a Toastmasters Club. Your membership in the new club provides many unique opportunities to increase and improve your public speaking and leadership skills. In addition, FailSafe-ERA Toastmasters will compete with other area clubs for recognition up-to the International level. Returning citizens will participate in the club through FailSafe-ERA's Speechcraft Program for the first eight weeks at no cost. After participants have completed the eight-week program, they can join the FailSafe-ERA Toastmasters Club for the general membership fee. The club will meet Thursdays, from 7 – 8:30 p.m. Twenty members are required to form the club. Membership is $45 per person every six months. Please contact Juanita Shanks at 540-479-3021 or by email at for more information.

Your generosity is needed and will be greatly appreciated

No one benefits when crimes are repeated, but everyone benefits when lives are changed and meaningful, productive citizens return to their communities. Not only does FailSafe-ERA help returning citizens become successful and trusted members of our communities, but the organization also assists the children and families of those incarcerated, which in itself is a tremendously adverse childhood experience. Please consider making a financial commitment to help support and sustain our many important programs so that we can continue to provide the necessary resources and tools to help returning citizens reenter our communities successfully while helping to prevent their children from following in their footsteps. Please help FailSafe-ERA make a difference in our community by making a donation by clicking here.

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