• FailSafe-ERA

The Anchor, Volume 1 Issue 9 March


Message from our Chair, Bobby Anderson


The FailSafe-ERA Board of Directors and Operations Team completed a review of the FailSafe-ERA strategic plan. As a result, we updated our plan and now have a solid guide for FailSafe-ERA over the next few years.

We identified our Core Purpose, which is “to foster positive change in the lives of those affected by incarceration” and our overall goal is to become the premier reentry services organization and alternative solution to incarceration, thereby reducing generations of incarceration.

Our plan will keep us focused on goal and to successfully reintegrate inmates back into society in order to have fulfilling lives.

We look forward to working with our community leaders and members in this exciting and challenging endeavor.


Message from our CEO, Juanita Shanks


In response to COVID-19, it is our priority to protect the health and safety of our volunteers and clients as we continue to closely monitor the news. We have put the necessary measures in place to ensure we do our part in slowing the spread of this virus. All of our volunteers are working from their homes, while we continue to monitor calls and emails.

Many of our partner agencies are reaching out to Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC), Directors of Public Safety, and the Governor’s office on behalf of the inmates and their family members, during these critical times, to encourage alternate solutions to incarceration.


Some of the solutions include the release of low-level offenders, house arrest, and bail for the awaiting trial for non-violent offenses. While we support these solutions, we also want to be wise to ensure those who are being release have a home and resources.

A link to the VADOC, to keep informed of actions taken in support of COVID-19, is below.

https://vadoc.virginia.gov/news-press-releases/2020/covid-19-updates/


Though our support to the returning citizens has been greatly minimized, due to COVID-19, our team is continuing to work remotely with our family members and on several projects. Below are some updates:

We launched our first 32-hour Transformed and Empowered Life Skills Training to returning citizens, February 3-7. This training is a cognitive-behavioral, skills-building program that challenges returning citizens and inmates to change their beliefs and behaviors We are grateful to the following individuals for working with us to provide this training:

  • Ms. Joyce Marter, LCPC, CEO of Joyce Marter Enterprises, Inc. for her tips on resolving conflict;

  • Dr. George Millsaps, Partnership Specialist, for providing information on small business entrepreneurship;

  • Ms. Melissa Brown, Pinnacle Treatment, for providing information on addiction treatment services;

  • Ms. Alayna Stiffler, ADS Coaching and Mentoring for providing information on Toastmasters International and public speaking skills;

  • Ms. Denise Adams, VP Senior Branch Manager, PNC Bank for providing information on money management;

  • Ms. Anita Newhouse, Welcome Center Manager, Germanna Community College for sharing information about Germanna’s workforce development programs;

  • Mr. E. Todd Stubblefield for providing flagger training;

  • Ms. LaQuia Campbell, Taskforce Staffing, for providing employment tips and opportunities;

  • Ms. Mildred Thomas for the fun activity of understanding the meaning of names


MINISTRY

FailSafe-ERA Ministry team established the Council of Churches to work with area churches and faith-based organizations to support inmates and the returning citizen, using a phased approach: preparation, transition, and stabilization. In addition, the Council is working to develop a 2nd Chance Ministry. Please contact Pastor Phyllis Brantley via email at Phyllis.brantley@failsafe-era.org for additional information or if your church would like to become a member of this council.


Our family support group for the adult family member, designed to teach, in a supportive and non-judgmental environment, the techniques to properly grieve the loss of their incarcerated loved ones and how to survive the incarceration process, the most common being the shame associated with admitting that incarceration has touched their lives. Individuals learn how to manage expectations and how not to become an enabler once the loved one returns home. Our support group continues to meet on the 3rd Saturday of the month. Please contact us at failsafeera@gmail.com if you would like more information about joining this support group.


CARING CONNECTIONS

Thank you to New Restoration Outreach Christian Center of Fredericksburg for choosing to partner with us to provide care packages to returning citizens, as part of their many outreach efforts. We are truly excited for this opportunity to work together.


Our Caring Connections program is also designed to promote confidence, respect, and positive behavior. It is the bridge to prevent generations of incarceration. The overall mission is the social and emotional well-being of children, youth, and families; particularly those who are involved in the criminal justice system themselves or is a child whose parent is currently or formerly incarcerated. One of our programs is ECHIPS (Equipping Children with Incarcerated Parents). This program is designed to help reduce the trauma and related challenges that children of incarcerated parents often face. Our volunteer, Mrs. Lori Gregory provided 6-week awareness training to students at Conway Elementary, Thornburg Middle, and Spotswood Elementary.

Thank you to Mrs. Dannette Johnson of Designs by Dannette for providing a positive and awesome presentation to the WIGS (Women Inspiring GirlS) team. WIGS focuses on assisting girls in the enhancement of self-esteem and self-worth while building a positive identity, lessening their influence in criminal activity. It is a group coaching and mentoring program for girls ages 11-18. Mrs. Johnson provided the girls with affirmation exercises and positive self-talk. If you are interested in signing up your child(ren), please contact us at failsafeera@gmail.com.



SAVE THE DATE: August 22, 2020 for our “Center of Hope” Annual Fundraiser, Scholarship and Awards Program at the Fredericksburg Expo Center – 6:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m. Our theme this year is Criminal Justice Reform and Decarceration. We are pleased to announce the following presenters:

  • Honorable Sherman Lea, City of Roanoke Mayor and Member of Virginia Parole Board

  • Honorable Shannon Taylor, Henrico Commonwealth Attorney, former Defense Attorney, and Advocate for Criminal Justice Reform

  • Mr. Tony Lewis Jr., Activist, Author, Community Leader, and Champion for Children with Incarcerated Parents. His work and advocacy have been featured on CNN, BET, Elite Daily, and the Washington Post. He is the winner of many awards including the Steve Harvey/Ford Motor Company “Best Community Leader” award and the Presidential Call to Service award.

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