Season Greetings and Blessings to All!
I'm Karen Harris and I currently serve as Vice President of an extraordinarily caring team of people known as "Failsafe ERA" Board of Directors. During the past four years, I have had the pleasure of being an integral member of this illustrious team to whom I owe a debt of gratitude for their service, guidance and friendship.
FailSafe-ERA is the organization that offers a much-needed bridge to returning citizens (formerly incarcerated) and assists in facilitating their transition from jail/prison into the livelihood that they have been deprived of for a number of years. Failsafe-ERA is comprised of caring people, all volunteers, who have a heart, compassion and a commitment to its mission!
As the aura of the season of giving is upon us, let us be ever mindful of those who are incarcerated and their families. FailSafe-ERA has been blessed and favored to be in a position to provide support and resources for families during these critical times, not only during this Holiday Season but throughout the years, past, present and continuing into the future!
The warmest heart felt greetings of the Season to you and your families, and the best wishes for a blessed and prosperous New Year!
May your season overflow with laughter, happiness and above all, His Peace!
From the FailSafe-ERA CEO:
The work that we do in FailSafe-ERA cannot be done without all of you and our great team of volunteers. It costs and your contributions are making a difference! Some of our accomplishments for 2019 include, but are not limited to:
Serving over 300 returning citizens and family members through office visits, phone calls, letters, and emails
Partnering with Germanna Community College and Office on Youth to present our first PGI (Preventing Generations of Incarceration) seminar for counselors and educators
Providing social emotional training to 23 youth, weekly, at the Boys and Girls Club to prevent generations of incarceration; and to youth at 4 elementary schools, helping the children cope with the effects of incarceration, with the support of the Community Foundation, Youth in Philanthropy
Launching WIGS (Women Inspiring GirlS) for girls ages 11-18, lessening their influence in criminal activity
Graduating 16 returning citizens from our Right Road Job Training and Placement Program, in partnership with ATSSA (American Traffic Safety Services Association)
Graduating 126 inmates from our Resiliency Training at the Rappahannock Regional Jail
Participating in 8 reentry fairs and provided resources to over 500 participants at several correctional facilities
Providing Bible study to over 500 inmates at the Rappahannock Regional Jail
Establishing the Council of Churches to provide second chance support and online prayer group for the incarcerated and their families
Distributing over 100 food baskets and provided weekly bread distributions. Thank you to St. Jude Catholic Church, Grace Point Fellowship Church, and Healthy Families
Providing toys to 31 families with 72 children thanks to the Marine Corps Toys-4-Tots and Zion Church of Fredericksburg for hosting our first Holiday Shoppe
Providing stockings to children with incarcerated families, thanks to Hope Aglow Empowerment Church
Celebrating 10 years of providing reentry services and support to members of our community
There is Hope for Our Future!
Ms. Aretha McDowney, scholarship recipient and toastmaster graduate, is working as a lab tech chemical analyst, has purchased a home, purchased a car and is now serving as our new program manager for toastmasters for returning citizens program for the adult population.
Mr. Roy Branklin, scholarship recipient, received his Master’s in mental health counseling and is on track to become a licensed therapist in the State of Virginia.
Mr. Antoine Carey, Entrepreneur, aired his first documentary, https://vimeo.com/319484463. In 2017, his goal was to one day open a Barber Academy. He was approved for his Academy by the State of Virginia this year in October.
Mr. Tony Roman, Entrepreneur and Toastmasters Graduate, is the proud owner of Victory Maintenance and Repair. Tony is also responsible for our youth speaks toastmasters program at the juvenile detention center and our right road job training and placement program.
2019 Volunteers of the Year
Mrs. Lori Gregory. Lori serves on our ministry team, where she not only assists the ministry director Pastor Phyllis with the administrative actions but also with late night pick up from Panera bread. She is the FailSafe representative on the Inter-faith Council, where she has provided assistance on various projects, such as the 10lb potato with First Baptist church which allowed us to reach out to Healthy Families and several returning citizens in need; she demonstrated outstanding leadership during the school dressing day initiative where she spent untold hours organizing, shopping, and working; she is newly appointed to the jail ready set release program where she gives instructions to female inmates on resilience; she leads our ECHIPS school based program where she teaches children in several schools in the area how to cope with the effects of incarceration, she’s a wife, a mom of 3 (all girls): two adults and one teenager, she studied psychology/christian counseling at Liberty University, and serves in ministry in her church at Strong Tower Ministries.
Ms. Shanail Mitchell. Shanail works a full-time job, she’s an entrepreneur who specializes in life and health coaching; she is a motivational speaker and lupus activist. She founded the organization FIGHT4LUPUS to help bring awareness to the chronic illness and to help fight for a cure; she’s a health coordinator at Total Life Changes, she’s a prayer warrior, serves in ministry in her church at Zion Church of Fredericksburg, she’s a mom of one daughter and she and her daughter are the founders of Girls United 4 Life; she’s a photographer, and she leads our Caring Connections for Youth (prevention) at the Boys and Girls club, a skills-building training program focusing on thoughts, emotions, and behavior.