29th Bi-Annual Community Re-Entry N.P. Graduation

To earn a second chance in life is a rare and priceless gift. Sadly, Black youth are more than four times as likely to be detained or committed in juvenile facilities as their white peers, according to nationwide data collected in October 2019. In 2015, Black youth’s incarceration rate was 5.0 times as high as their white peers, an all-time peak. The 29th Bi-Annual Community Re-Entry Network Program Graduation (CRNP) graduates were excited, full of hope, and proud of their accomplishment. This experience provided a new season to manifest in their lives, and every graduate was excited to take advantage of this second chance.

The program’s highlight was the testimony of Damion Walker, the Co-Producer of Truth & Justice, who was introduced by Vivian King, Producer of Truth & Justice. Damon told the audience, “On July 20, 2010, I was released after 17 years of incarceration. Not long after my release, I enrolled in the Community Re-entry Network Program and later graduated. Thirteen years later, I have the ultimate honor of encouraging the graduates of the 29th class as keynote speakers. I haven’t been this excited about a speaking engagement in a long time. I want to thank my friend Vivian R King for thinking of me in these moments and encouraging my gifts.”

Mr. Walker told a heart-wrenching story of being a sixteen-year-old young Black man who was a part of the wrong crowd, which led to his imprisonment at such a young age. He was sentenced to 17 years in prison and had to re-enter the Houston community as an adult with no knowledge of how to function in a world he wasn’t familiar with. Mr. Walker’s story is a reminder of the importance of working with our youth, helping them understand the importance of making the right choices in life, being careful of whom they surround themselves with, and how one wrong choice can take your life on a different path that could change it forever.

Forty-one percent of youths in placement are Black, even though Black Americans comprise only 15% of all youth across the United States. Since 2008, CRNP program of the Houston Health Department has been serving the Houston Community. Their caring, multi-disciplinary staff is committed to addressing the needs of the “whole” person with innovative, evidence-based programming, and linkage to services designed to meet the needs of formerly incarcerated persons to help stop the cycle of recidivism. CRNP’s mission is to work with the community to assess, plan, and implement effective strategies to reduce recidivism, increase public safety, and successfully assist and support ex-offenders in transitioning to becoming productive, contributing members of the Houston community.

These recently returning citizens have been encouraged that their best years are ahead of them and not behind them. This program is in the Kashmere Multi-Service Center because most formerly imprisoned people are settling in the Kashmere Gardens area when they reenter the Houston community. According to LaTosha Selexman, MPA Bureau Chief of the Houston Health Department Bureau of Youth and Adolescent Health (BYAH) and CRNP, “128 program participants graduated. They graduated with 25 percent of participants completing all program components, becoming gainfully employed, and completing an educational or vocational program. The remaining program participants are supported with vocational training and workforce development.” This is a fantastic record and an excellent opportunity to help recently incarcerated people get the tools they need to create a better life.

The participants in CRNP receive invaluable resources such as reentry resources for ex-offenders, resources in Harris County, Texas, and Texas Southern University Center for Justice Research Reentry Dashboard. The Community Partners that help make this program possible are Career Gear, Dress for Success Houston, Gulf Coast Community Services Association, Harris County Area Agency on Aging, Harris Health, Houston Health Department, Houston Food Bank, Houston Public Library, Mayor’s Citizens Assistance Office, SERJobs, Target Hunger, The Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD Volunteers of America. CRNP has supportive partners that provide various services that assist their participants on their rehabilitation journey.  These partner services are after-school programs, community events, crisis services for basic needs such as utility, rental assistance, transportation, daycare centers, drug, and alcohol recovery services, food pantries, food distribution, information, and referral services such as legal aid, parenting classes, summer meals programs, and youth services. Congratulations to the graduates of the CRNP!


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October 16, 2023, HOUSTON, TX – Congressional Candidate Amanda Edwards has raised over $1 million in less than 4 months, a substantial sum that helps bolster the frontrunner status of the former At-Large Houston City Council Member in her bid for U.S. Congress. Edwards raised over $433,000 in Q3 of 2023. This strong Q3 report expands on a successful Q2 where Edwards announced just 11 days after declaring her candidacy that she had raised over $600,000. With over $829,000 in cash-on-hand at the end of the September 30th financial reporting period, Edwards proves again that she is the clear frontrunner in the race. “I am beyond grateful for the strong outpouring of support that will help me to win this race and serve the incredible people of the 18th Congressional District,” said Edwards. “We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s trajectory, and we need to send servant leaders to Congress who can deliver the results the community deserves. The strong support from our supporters will help us to cultivate an 18th Congressional District where everyone in it can thrive.” Edwards said. “Amanda understands the challenges that the hard-working folks of the 18th Congressional District face because she has never lost sight of who she is or where she comes from; she was born and raised right here in the 18th Congressional District of Houston,” said Kathryn McNiel, spokesperson for Edwards’ campaign. Edwards has been endorsed by Higher Heights PAC, Collective PAC, Krimson PAC, and the Brady PAC. She has also been supported by Beto O’Rourke, among many others. About Amanda: Amanda is a native Houstonian, attorney and former At-Large Houston City Council Member. Amanda is a graduate of Eisenhower High School in Aldine ISD. Edwards earned a B.A. from Emory University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. Edwards practiced law at Vinson & Elkins LLP and Bracewell LLP before entering public service. Edwards is a life-long member of St. Monica Catholic Church in Acres Homes. For more information, please visit www.edwardsforhouston.com

As September 13th rolls around, we extend our warmest birthday wishes to the creative powerhouse, Tyler Perry, a man whose indomitable spirit and groundbreaking work have left an indelible mark on the world of entertainment. With his multifaceted talents as an actor, playwright, screenwriter, producer, and director, Tyler Perry has not only entertained but also inspired audiences worldwide, particularly within the African-American community, where his influence and role have been nothing short of powerful. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1969, Tyler Perry’s journey to stardom was a path riddled with adversity. Raised in a turbulent household, he found refuge in writing, using it as a therapeutic outlet. This period of introspection gave rise to one of his most iconic creations, Madea, a vivacious, no-nonsense grandmother who would later become a beloved figure in Perry’s works, offering a unique blend of humor and profound life lessons. Despite facing numerous challenges, including rejection and financial struggles, Perry’s determination and unwavering belief in his abilities propelled him forward. In 1992, he staged his first play, “I Know I’ve Been Changed,” which, although met with limited success, was a pivotal moment in his career. Unfazed by initial setbacks, Perry continued to hone his craft, and by 1998, he had successfully produced a string of stage plays that showcased his storytelling prowess.

Calling all teenage student-athletes! If you have dreams of playing college soccer and wish to represent an HBCU, the HBCU ID Camp is your golden opportunity. From 8 am to 5 pm on November 11-12, Houston Sports Park will transform into a hub for aspiring male and female soccer players. Coaches from HBCUs across the nation will be present to evaluate, scout, and offer valuable feedback. Moreover, they might even spot the next soccer prodigy to join their collegiate soccer programs. This camp is not just about honing your soccer skills but also a chance to connect with the HBCU soccer community. You’ll learn the ins and outs of what it takes to excel on the field and in the classroom, which is crucial for a college athlete. The HBCU ID Camp is an excellent platform to network with coaches, learn from experienced athletes, and take the first steps toward your college soccer journey. To secure your spot at this incredible event, don’t forget to register [here](insert registration link). Space is limited to 120 participants, so make sure to reserve your place before it’s too late. It’s time to turn your dreams of playing college soccer into a reality.

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