Monday, May 14, 2007
Rebuild New Orleans
Plan to Rebuild New Orleans Update 5/12/07
After writing a post titled Plan to Rebuild New Orleans I recieved some terrific feedback in the form of comments. This post will be a continuation that will evolve into plans then plans into action. This post will also be an evolving post and will continue from time to time updating progress and plans made on this project.
One important principle of this rebuilding plan should be the education, mentoring and development of the young men participating in this program. I believe we should research and network with orginizations that specialize in prisoner reform and education. After getting information from those orginizations we should build our curriculum around the best and most productive programs we have found. The convicts must understand up front that this program is all about earning your way by working hard and smart.
This program is all about bieng a self starter and leader these are the type of values and principles I would like, to be apparent in our work and results. The classroom will be as big a part of this program as the work skills taught. Leadership and hard work should always be rewarded and emphasized. The goal of this program is to get these young men ready to go back in the system and maintain thier lives and their families.
Equally important will be the selecting of people to supervise the prison workforce. They must be people who can understand the issues and needs of the workers and relate to them on a human to human basis as well. Also they must be expierenced in prisoner to prisoner relations and able to keep peace and stability so that work can be done in a competent and regular manner. We must also have goverment security (prison gaurds).
Also once perfected this program could be used to rebuild other damaged structures in New Orleans damaged by the Hurricane. So the rebuilding of New Orleans could be a very big oppurtunity for non violent offenders in future years to come. It would be an oppurtunity for some to work while earning time off and learning productive work skills that will allow them to make a living without resulting to illegal means. Once again we should not reinvent the wheel but we should research people and groups who have and currently work with convicts. Those that are particularly well regarded are programs we should start with.
We should also apply to orginizations that fund prison reform through grants and other means to see if we can get funding for such a venture. I think if we start with small pilot programs we should be able to find some money somewhere. Since thier are already community service work study program working with convicts we should talk to them to get the best advise, then use that advise to custom design our own project.
It also would be benificial to work with church orginizations specifically those who already have had expirence and success at working with prisoners and parolees. It may be possible to get such an inniative moving on a small scale especially the part of the program involving the parolees. We should start with the churches already working with parolees and former convicts having a rough time finding work. We should also start with young men currently on parole or ex offenders who need job training. In fact I think it would be important to have a faith based part of this program working begining this type of rebuilding work ASAP because thier are now thousands of young black men out of jail with no job skills and bills to pay(including child support).
Once we have located the right people to begin working with we should apply to the goverment for money specifically for faith based inniatives. We also should apply to the goverment for whatever funds they have available for prisoner work training programs. The different home repair Corps should be broken down into groups of 8-5 workers to go into specific communities and start the repair work that is desperately needed fixing up communities one by one. Also bringing in churches at the begining may be a way to make such an innitiative more legitimate because of the credibility churches come with but also in working through churches it may be possible to get a good source of funding from the catholic church and other church orginizations. Also remember that New Orleans has a lot of historic Catholic Churches.
Built into this program thier should be a leadership development Cadre constantly refined with the purpose of producing leaders to see this rebuilding effort through. Initially this leadership Cadre should be composed of inmates who have demonstrated good behavior and have proven to be good role models as well as leaders.
The Convict/parolees that have Carpentry skills should be grouped together first to develop a technique and a rythym to the rebuilding process. Afterwards they should be broken up amongst the different Corps to lead and guide and to train other workers. This job should be all about training folks to be productive and competent workers.
Finally the importance of family must be continuously stressed to the participants of this project. For those men with children parenting classes should be taught and the responsiblity of bieng a parent should be emphasized over and over again. The beauty of fatherhood should be taught to these young men and they should be encouraged to call thier children regularly. Finacial literacy should be taught to these men so that when they graduate they will know how to responsibly manage thier money and build for the future.
This are the groups and orginizations I will need to contact
DC Court and Prison system for permission to work with that population.
The Parole board and Probation officers.
Churches in Washington DC that work with ex-convicts and at risk young men.
Churches in New Orleans that work with the same populatioin specifically because they should be able to orginize something immediately.
Job skills training programs such as Job core and arch that give job training in home repair and carpentry to see if they could adjust thier programs to send workers down to new orleans to help rebuild while getting credits they need to graduate from the pragrams they are in.
Officials down in New Orleans to figure out where our services where needed first as well as other logistics.
I would also try to contact individuals such as
Warrick Dunn (Already has a foundation that builds homes for single mother)
I will also establish contacts with New Orleans Bloggers who are plugged in to the rebuilding issue to find out exactly who I need to talk to and what would be needed to get this process moving.
A lot of the staff for this program should be volunteer based on the model of Mercy ships that sail all over the world providing free medical care to Impoverished African and other third world countries.
I welcome any advice people may have on things that can be done to get the ball rolling on this process I have also created a blog speciifically for developing this idea. Please leave comments thier