Join us for a Benefit in Support of Our Services for Children and their Families!

invitedigitalSunday, Nov. 6, 2016, 3:00-6:00 PM

• Hear Directly from Our Families About Our Services
• Silent and Live Auctions
• Comedian Lauren Weedman
(Cast, HBO’s “Looking”; Former Correspondent, Daily Show with Jon Stewart)
• Liz Watts and Company Dance Troupe
• Light Refreshments • Business Casual
La Cañada Flintridge Country Club
5500 Godbey Dr. • La Cañada Flintridge, CA 91011

RSVP: By November 1, 2016 • (626) 795-7607, ext. 102
Coralito Arambula •
Suggested Event Donation = $25.00

To donate go click here  or send a check to:
261 E. Colorado Blvd., Ste. 217, Pasadena, CA 91101

Department of “Corrections”

In case our followers are wondering what a “Risson,” is (see our last newsletter) . . . some of the letters on my computer keyboard are no longer visible. Hence, I typed “Risson” instead of “Ribbon.” And, the typo made it through our proofreading “department.” The headline should have read “Weaver Appointed to Blue Ribbon Committee by Mayor Garcetti.” Mea culpa.


FOLA Partner in Newly-funded LEAP Grant by the U.S. Department of Labor

We are thrilled to learn that our partnership with the South Bay Workforce Investment Board and New Opportunities Charter School was just funded as one of 20 grants in the country that will receive funds to start a “One-Stop” employment center inside Los Angeles County Jails. According to its website, the U.S. Department of Labor explains the program in this way:

WASHINGTON — More than 9 million people are released from the nation’s more than 3,000 county and local jails every year, the U.S. Department of Justice reports. Many of these individuals have few job skills and face difficult barriers to stable employment. Without a strong support system or a steady job, many once incarcerated people are likely to commit new crimes and return to jail: a cycle of recidivism that recurs across the country.

To break the cycle, the U.S. Department of Labor is funding grants to provide comprehensive services to inmates before release and ongoing support as they regain their place in the community when their incarceration ends. The grants are funded by the “Linking to Employment Activities Pre-Release” or “LEAP” initiative.

“When someone leaves a county or local jail, very real barriers too often stand in their way as they try to find a good job and lead a successful life,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. “We have to do more to help them land on their feet as they return to their communities.”

“We have to work together and use existing resources in new, innovative ways to break the cycle of incarceration. The LEAP initiative encourages greater coordination between local workforce programs, correctional systems and other critical services to prepare inmates for jobs before release, and to continue to assist them as they return home,” Perez added. “This is a commonsense approach that strengthens communities and improves public safety at the same time.”

The goal of the LEAP initiative is to break down silos and help integrate two services already offered by local governments — correctional facilities and workforce development programs. In nearly every county, municipal or regional area, jail or correctional facilities are located near the approximately 2,500 American Job Centers in the U.S., funded by the U.S. Department of Labor, but administered by local government or a non-profit organization through a local workforce investment board.

By providing a direct “hand-off” of transitioning offenders to their area’s Job Center upon release, the newly released individual will receive follow-up, support and other services at a critical time to help guide them on a path toward a productive career and away from the risks that often return them to jail.

LEAP aligns closely with the principles driving President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative which seeks to address persistent opportunity gaps facing boys and young men of color and to ensure that all young people can realize their full potential.

Weaver Appointed to Blue Ribbon Commission by Mayor Garcetti

Los Angeles Mayor Eric ­­­Garcetti has appointed Mary Weaver, Executive Director, to his newly-formed Commission on Employment Equity. The Com­mission’s charge is to address the Citywide need to increase ­em­ployment amongst Angelenos with criminal rec­ords. The Commission will begin meeting in June with a focus on persuading local employers to change their hiring practices to include the following:  1) Refrain from making criminal record inquiries until a conditional offer of employment is extended; 2) Refrain from making credit history inquiries unless the position involves public safety, financial fiduciary responsibilities or is an executive position; and, 3) Work to develop recruitment and “on-boarding” policies of communities who are historically, disproportionately unemployed and under-employed, including communities of color, youth, veterans, the unsheltered and people with criminal records.


Friends Outside in Los Angeles County (FOLA) was just notified of its largest grant award in the organization’s history –  a $5,000,000 grant over a period of five years!  The “New Pathways for Fathers and Families” grant was made by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Family Assistance.  FOLA’s program, the Dads Back! Academy, is an incentivized comprehensive, community-based program for fathers who have been incarcerated in State or Federal prison or County jail, and have children/youth, ages 24 and younger.  The target area will be South Los Angeles, including Watts, the Cities of Lynwood and Compton, and surrounding communities in Los Angeles County.

FOLA has been providing services for previously incarcerated individuals and their families since 1972 and has had offices in the service communities since 1990.  FOLA will provide comprehensive services to promote responsible fatherhood, including activities that promote responsible parenting, economic stability and healthy marriage/ relationships.

Included amongst our partners are the East Los Angeles Women’s Center, America’s Job Centers, and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.  A Dads Back! Alumni Council will assist with planning and on-going program development.

The program launch date is July, 2016.  Watch for news about our Grand Opening!

Thomas Fleming Rhodes: A Wonderful Man and Volunteer

Thomas Fleming Rhodes was the epitome of a volunteer.

He began volunteering at our Pasadena office so many years ago that we don’t even remember exactly when he began.  We think it was sometime in the late 70’s.  9:00 – 12:00 Tuesday morning was Tom’s perennial shift.  He was a supervisor’s dream – always on time, seldom missed work but called on those rare occasions when he could not be at work, and always willing to do what you asked him to do.  Wherever he was, there was always Tom’s radiant smile and his laugh, lilting and lively.

Those of us who had the privilege to know him remember a man who never complained, in spite of physical and mental challenges that would have given him sufficient reason to do so.  Through Tom, we discovered that an individual, no matter their personal challenges, always has something to give.

A couple of years ago, Tom called to tell us that he was no longer able to volunteer.  He left us as unassumingly as he had come to us.  The Tuesday morning slot would no longer be filled by this selfless, kind, and gentle soul.  We were saddened to learn that Tom passed-away quite suddenly last September at the age of 63.

Tom’s siblings, Margaret, Richard, and Ted, granted us permission to memorialize Tom.  But, how do you honor a man who answered our telephones for about 25 years.  At a rate of about 10 calls per hour, Tom likely handled somewhere around 37,500 telephone calls!  How do you memorialize a man whose service helped us meet the conditions of our contracts, a man who gave not only of his time but also of his monetary resources, a man who asked nothing of us in return but to be given a place and a means through which he could serve his community?

And so it is, with the blessing of his three siblings, we are proud to announce that we have named our most well-loved and enduring community activity in Tom’s honor, the “Thomas Fleming Rhodes Memorial Holiday Party for Children.”  In doing so, we sincerely hope that we have done justice to his life, his values, and his many contributions to Friends Outside and our community.