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3/26/2013 3:20:00 PM
Yavapai Reentry Project seeks more community coaches
Hannah Johnson working with volunteers Hedda Fay and Jeff Miles
Hannah Johnson working with volunteers Hedda Fay and Jeff Miles

Since January 2012, the Yavapai Reentry Project has been providing direct services to individuals being released from Arizona Department of Corrections prisons, and returning the Yavapai County. The Yavapai Reentry Project is a program under Community Counts, and began at a MATFORCE conference in 2010.

Since beginning, 32 reentering individuals have been involved in the Yavapai Reentry Project, and so far, none of them have gone back to prison. That means that individuals involved in the project are not out committing crimes or abusing substances, but are working in the community, reconnecting with their families, and working jobs just like anyone else.

"This project is not just about supporting a single person in the difficult transition back into society," says Becca Fealk, AmeriCorps VISTA and Project Coordinator for the Yavapai Reentry Project, "it's about supporting our whole community from the ripple effect of incarceration."

The "whole community" aspect comes through in the Community Coach Mentorship program that the Yavapai Reentry Project runs. This program allows community members to be trained in areas such as motivational interviewing, barriers for people with criminal histories, substance abuse recovery, and much more.

This is based off of the Peer2Peer Recovery Coaching program that has been active in the county since 2010. A class is coming up where anyone who completes the 20-hours of training can be either a Community Coach with the Yavapai Reentry Project, or a Recovery Coach with the Peer2Peer program.

AmeriCorps Member Hannah Johnson is a recent Prescott College graduate who began working as the Recovery and Community Coach Coordinator in January. "There is a direct relationship between one-on-one mentoring, where participants are actively supported in areas of their lives that become difficult after being incarcerated, and reducing chances of recidivism," she said. "The time period following release is sensitive and vulnerable, and a coach both expands and sustains a participant's network of care and possibility."

To find out more about the Community Coach Mentorship program and understand how to become a volunteer, all community members are invited to attend a community meeting on April 4 from 10-11:30 a.m. at the Prescott Public Library, Founders Suite.

A Coach and Participant will speak on their experience with the Yavapai Reentry Project, and a representative from Goodwill will discuss employment options. No RSVP is needed.

Trainings to become a Recovery or Community Coach are from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Friday mornings beginning April 19 in Prescott, and beginning April 17 on Wednesday evenings from 5:30-8:30 p.m. in Cottonwood.

No experience is needed to be a Coach, and those with criminal histories can apply with some restrictions.

To sign up for the training, contact Hannah Johnson at (928) 708-0100, or find out more information online at http://yavapaireentryproject.org.


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