Extended Family began our newest program in January, a comprehensive twenty-week series of individualized classes offered to men who are leaving prison (whom we call “returning citizens”) and reentering their homes and communities.  Extended Success for Life (ESL) guides returning citizens through the process of reintegrating into society with a three-part approach, “Dream, Learn, and Live.”  This program is led by ESL Coordinator Jerry Clemons, who spent six years in an Alabama state penitentiary, and has been home successfully since 2009.

In the first few lessons, returning citizens are taught to articulate their dreams and set goals necessary to accomplish those dreams.  After identifying their dreams, Jerry customizes the ESL Lessons to meet the specific needs of each returned citizen.

The second set of classes and interactive activities are designed to teach the men the specific steps necessary to reach their goals and realize their dreams.  It is during this portion of the program that they begin to learn, through a combination of discovering their own skills and talents and developing coping mechanisms to manage emotions and stress in ways that won’t get them into trouble.

As important as it is to help returning citizens to dream and learn, the crucial final step is to encourage them to live what they have been taught.  They receive one-on-one support and are provided with the tools they need to achieve success.  The primary goal of ESL is to ensure that returned citizens successfully reunite with their families and communities, without reoffending.

ESL is a free reentry program and is available to men who want to be successful and are committed to attending the twenty-week series, setting a goal plan, and working toward their goals and dreams, including work advancement, completing their education, and more.  Returning citizens are referred by Judges, Probation and Parole Officers, Alabama Department of Corrections, or self-referral.

Those interested in enrolling should contact Jerry Clemons, Reentry Coordinator, jerry@extendedfamilyhelp.org.  For more information on this and other Extended Family Programs, visit our website, www.extendedfamilyhelp.org.

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