Community Solutions’ Mission is to strengthen community by strengthening children, youth and families among the most disenfranchised and under-served to achieve their highest potential to become valuable and valued members of the mainstream community.
EXCITING CHANGES @ COMMUNITY SOLUTIONS
It was with great sadness that at the end of 2013, due to the country’s economic downturn resulting in the loss of major funding, the Community Solutions Board of Directors & staff had to face a daunting prospect: shut our doors OR, CHANGE DIRECTIONS!
Obviously, with a deep commitment to serving the prison family, the choice was not difficult. We chose to CHANGE DIRECTIONS!
Change is never easy & EFFECTIVE change takes time. But, today we can proudly say that the changes have been successful and even MORE EXCITING CHANGES ARE TO COME.
Here’s where Community Solutions is TODAY!
Here are few “success stories”!
- PFFUnited responded to numerous phone & e-mail contacts from prison family members grieving at the loss of their loved one to prison; having difficulty addressing their child’s uncontrollable sadness and even rage in reaction to the absence of a parent or sibling; fearful of contacting prison authorities to advocate on behalf of their loved one being abused or extorted in prison…among others.
- PFFUnited negotiated the transfer of a prisoner from facility where he had been sexually assaulted by an officer (yes, an officer), and was subsequently repeatedly retaliated against by prison administration and officers for reporting the assault.
- Three years after a physician ordered surgery for a prisoner for an extremely painful condition the prisoner’s multiple grievances and letters to prison authorities and even legislators were repeatedly ignored. Our negotiations were successful in FINALLY having the surgery accomplished.
- PFFUnited provided guidance to a grieving mother to successfully negotiate her dying son’s “compassionate release” from prison, so they could spend his last days together at home in the free world.
Voices Behind Walls - Headed by an energetic and enthusiastic young man, Lecroy (Lee) Rhyames, Jr. “VPW” offers prison family members the opportunity to express their innermost thoughts and feeling, productively, through poetry and music!!!
As a New Mexico State University instructor teaching criminal justice related classes, Lee has been working with youth in detention in both New Mexico and Texas for about five years. Through the VPW project, Lee encourages expression of innermost thoughts in a language they best understand.
Community Solutions is especially pleased that Lee has come on board to provide Voices Behind Walls as a special project.
The Voices Behind Wall’s story is documented through interviews, posts, writings, audio/video recordings, and photographs archived on the VBW Blogspot.
Visit the Voices Behind Walls website to learn more.
The next Community Solutions project is in its formative stages, but soon you will find it IN THE AIR….or more accurately ON the air.
“Prison Family Journey Radio” is dedicated to prison family and criminal justice issues. Each weekly one hour broadcast highlights a relevant topic. Knowledgeable and respected guests from across the country discuss critical topics and provide information and resources to effectively navigate the challenges of the journey.
(While we hope for a January inaugural air date, we are realistically giving ourselves until March to have Prison Family Journey Radio fully operational.)
Your investment through our GOFUNDME PFJRADIO Start-up fundraising project will help PFJ-RADIO sign on the air. Give in honor of someone you know who is passionate about criminal justice and its impact on the prison family. Ask your friends and families to support Prison Family Journey Radio, too and “like” the PFJRADIO Facebook page to show your support, too.
Of course the annual national Prisoner’s Family Conference initiated and hosted by Community Solutions continues uninterrupted, but IMPROVED!
Confirmed presenters for the 2015 conference will be acknowledged here and on the conference website.
With the support of an enthusiastic national Steering Committee, the 2015 conference will be “bigger & better” than ever, and it will feature a prisoners’ creative artes competition, too!
After two years with conference presenters and attendees from other countries, in 2015 the conference has become “officially” InterNational. Francis Ssuubi, Director of Wells of Hope in Uganda, who has presented at the conference for the past two years, is coordinating an International Prison Family Focus Group to develop a world vision White Paper at the 2015 conference.
If you have read it and appreciated its message, please write a review on the book’s amazon.com page.
Co-authored by Community Solutions Founder & Director, Carolyn Esparza, LPC and current Texas prisoner, Phillip Don Yow, Sr., the book is being praised as the first totally honest look at the challenges faced by prisoners and their loved ones as they travel the daunting journey from arrest through incarceration back into society.
The book will be the text for a new criminal justice class at New Mexico State University, beginning January 2015. The class filled in only a couple weeks after it was announced! Class instructor, Lecroy Rhaynes and co-author Carolyn Esparza are preparing a study guide and resource list for students.
The new look of Community Solutions has given us a NATIONAL PRESENCE that is actually allowing us to provide services and support to more prison family members than ever! Additionally, it has VASTLY EXPANDED OUR ABILITY TO INFORM THE PUBLIC about the realities faced by the prison family.
Our new national presence is bursting stereotypes & myths and increasing understanding and support for a population that has far too long been unjustly feared and even ostracized.
Our new face has an even greater capacity than ever before to strengthen prison families and increase the safety & quality of life in our communities!
Join us. Support Community Solutions.
&, of course…
ABOUT THE PRISONER’S FAMILY CONFERENCE
Exceptional keynote addresses and workshops are featured on a wide range of topics relevant to strengthening prison families. With an exhibit area and ample opportunities for networking, the information and resources provided at this conference are relevant for all affected by incarceration, including those serving prisoners and their loved ones in the fields of criminal justice, social services, counseling, ministry and academia, as well as prison family members, themselves.
Visit the Prisoner’s Family Conference website for complete details.
Conference registration Early Bird Registration is now open and offers a substantial discount. A limited number of partial scholarships are available to prison family members only.
The Prisoner’s Family Conference provides the opportunity to publicly acknowledge the extraordinary talents behind bars in the United States. Cash prizes are awarded in each category.
Prisoner’s families and friends may e-mail for entry guidelines to share with prisoners who may wish to entry the competition. The conference e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Artwork by Richard Lee Torres
Literary and artistic projects produced by prison family members may also be submitted.
All Community Solutions activities are provided through the kindness of generous donors. All donations are tax deductible and greatly appreciated. Thank you for your support of Community Solutions.