I was the Executive Director of a non-profit called Crime Prevention Institute (CPI) working with folks returning to the community from incarceration. I did that for 6 years and still look back on it as my dream job. The agency did not survive the economic downturn that began in 2009, and closed its doors due to funding issues in 2011. I was grief stricken...and I still am. I've spent the last 4 years working in other fields, some of it in after school programming in public housing, some of it in county government, and some of it teaching at the UT School of Social Work.
About a year ago, I volunteered to coordinate end of life care for a former CPI client who had turned his life around and had 10 years sober, but whose body had given out, and whose family had given up. I was with him when he died, and I helped him get a funeral with military honors. He said to me, "You had a hell of a team there at CPI, if I had any money I would leave it all to you to restart CPI." And ever since then I've been banging on my laptop and meeting with people trying to figure out how. Because I did have a hell of a team with a hell of a mission and we did great work. And it's still needed. Finding a place to live and work when you've got a criminal record is damn near impossible....and if you can't live or work, how will you be successful?
But, it's time for me to rethink sustainability of that model and that work. A little non-profit highly reliant on government funds fell apart...and I don't see much evidence it would be any different today. What's needed is innovation and some private funds. So, I've decided to create a business...a for profit business...that will seek to provide opportunities for a second chance, a fair chance, for those who have stumbled and are trying to get it right. I want to provide sober living and employment opportunities for these individuals, and build small businesses that will eventually become private funding streams for some social work services that can help these folks stay sober, stay employed, seek treatment, address past trauma, and contribute to the community. It's called Adastra Enterprises, and it's first LLC is called Reagan's House, we will be providing a sober home to men and welcoming those who have trouble renting other places.
I am asking for help getting started. I can't provide a return on your investment, or a tax deduction, but I can offer my warmest gratitude, my sincere appreciation, and regular updates on my progress. Your investment in Adastra is an investment in me, an honoring of the death of my former client, and a gift to the community. We are all so fortunate and so many are not. The seed money will be used to get the house rented, furnished, and filled with residents who will pay rent and contribute to the house. Please donate absolutely any amount you can. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
- Darlene Lanham
- Julia and Johnny Cuba Lewis
- Lauren Ross
- Bekka Sartwell
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