Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Making Strides (Props to Rodricks)

OK, here's something weird. I am writing a post with the hope that I will drive traffic away from our blog. The post I'm about to direct you to is a worthy cause and I enjoy calling attention to people who do common sense things for a good purpose. (And considering how often we bloggers parasitize the standard media it's only fitting that I should drive traffic back in that direction once in a while.)

In June 2005 one of the columnists for our local newspaper, Dan Rodricks, wrote an open letter to the drug dealers of our city. The point of the letter was to ask them to stop killing people.

Seriously. Really. That's exactly what he said. Read it here if you don't believe me.

Now the cool part.

He offered to help them get real jobs. And that's what he's been doing for the past two years. Any ex-offender looking for a job can call 410-332-6166 for information about companies that hire ex-offenders. He's had more than 5000 inquiries and mailed out loads of packets of information about job opportunities and substance abuse programs. He's even sent these packets to inmates in our prison system and I really like folks who help my patients.

And it's not even his job to do this.

I'd like to keep up the momentum, so if any you are willing and interested you can support this project by sending a check to:

Goodwill Industries


Strive is a national organization that provides job training and job-seeking skills for impoverished people, including ex-offenders. You can find a local chapter here.

I know it seems odd to ask a global readership to support a local effort. Well, if somebody can ask drug dealers to stop killing who am I to be less bold?


Anonymous said...

I heard him on the radio this morning talking about Father's Day.

ClinkShrink said...

I sent him a draft of the post and told him he could make editorial changes/give suggestions. He said to use the term 'more than' 5000 rather than 'over 5000' because 'over' refers to physical proximity while 'more than' refers to quantities.

So now Shrink Rap has had professional editorial input.

I took an unofficial poll at our staff meeting today. Out of seven people, two thought Paris should have been released, four abstained from voting and one announced that he was going to marry her someday. So that's the word from inside the walls.

Zoe Brain said...

Do they cater for transsexuals? Bear in mind that the appearance of some of us can be quite off-putting to employers, and that a lot of us are already highly qualified.

There are thousands of Susan Stantons.

Zoe Brain said...

Just to clarify, I quite understand if they don't, they do wonderful work with limited resources. There has to be some "triage", where those who have the best chance of success get into a program with limited spaces, and it genuinely is easier to find a job for a former drug dealer or burglar than for a transsexual in many parts of the USA.

It's just that I'm trying to keep several girls - minors - off the streets after they were chucked out from home, and some of them find it difficult enough to find money for food, let alone necessary hormones.

A service like this would be a literal lifesaver, as most such organisations don't want to be involved with such a controversial issue.

If we can help them before they develop the usual co-morbidities such as STDs or drug habits, it really increases their chances of a good long-term outcome.

But as I said, even if not, this group deserves all the support it can get.

ClinkShrink said...

I wasn't familiar with the STRIVE program before the Rodricks column, but Goodwill I'm familiar with. They don't specifically target or carve out any particular niche groups, but competing for open slots really isn't an issue. The biggest barrier for my patients isn't necessarily, or always, the lack of opportunity so much as the abundance of competing distractions---substance abuse cravings, unstable living situations, and supervision requirements like reporting to parole and probation. It's a lot to deal with. It's rather nice to follow the Rodricks column because he reports on what happens to some of the ex-offenders who have called him and you find out how things turned out.