Posts Tagged ‘social service’

Mark Guarino has a nice story in the Christian Science Monitor about a Chicago woman of great determination.

” ‘Pollinate’ is a word that Brenda Palms Barber likes to throw around when talking to people about her work.

She pollinates jobs for recently released inmates looking for a second chance. She pollinates faith among the people who take a chance in hiring them. She pollinates an upswing in North Lawndale, one of the most impoverished neighborhoods in Chicago, about five miles west of downtown.

“She also pollinates honey. At least that’s the job of the bees she has spent five years raising.

Indeed, Ms. Barber has brought swarms of bees to the city’s West Side, using them to foster job creation among a stigmatized group of people who live on the bottom rung of the economic ladder: black males who exit the state or county prison system with little formal education or job skills….

” ‘We have to be their first employers,’ she says. ‘We have to prove to society that people who did bad things, people who need second chances, can be positive in the workplace, that they will be loyal and hard-working and honest employees.’ “

More here.

Photo: David Harold Ropinksi/Sweet Beginnings
Brenda Palms Barber’s honey-products program has hired 275 ex-offenders since 2007. After 90 days, they shift to the outside workforce.

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In a Sun Sentinel article called “Battling back: US veterans help each other,” Diane C. Lade writes about the most logical people to help “veterans who have ended up on the wrong side of the law.

“Some former soldiers appearing in the new veterans’ court in Broward County, Fla, aren’t just getting fines, probation, or counseling. They’re getting mentors.

“Veterans Helping Veterans — modeled after a successful program in Palm Beach County, Fla. — pairs seasoned former military service men and women with veterans, of all ages and from all wars, who have ended up on the wrong side of the law.

“Though created in 2010 through Broward’s Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, known as RSVP, the program didn’t start thriving until being connected to the county’s Veterans’ Treatment Court, which opened in May.

“Now, it’s receiving three to four court referrals weekly (although any veteran can apply for assistance) and has 18 mentors, who under RSVP guidelines must be age 55 or older.  …

“The veterans’ court is designed to channel people who suffer from behavior, mental health, or substance abuse issues connected to their service into counseling or treatment programs.” Read more.

Photograph: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters/File
US Army Private First Class Peter Gong, a Vietnam War veteran and member of the National Guard, stands in front of a US flag during an American Legion event in Hempstead, N.Y.

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