In 2011, Carlos Christian and Ebony Taylor co-founded a nonprofit organization to reduce recidivism rates and address the negative impacts of incarceration that hinders families and communities in Ohio, and across the Nation. The Starts Within Organization (SWO) provides strategic programming for incarcerated men, their significant other, and their immediate and extended families. SWO’s holistic approach aligns as a resource for currently incarcerated men to assist society to receive restored individual post-incarceration.
Since 2017, Mr. Christian has been practicing his own message as a successfully restored citizen. At the age of 19, Carlos received a 10-year prison sentence for drug trafficking and was sent to the Marion Correctional Institute in Marion, Ohio, for the duration of the sentence. During this time, Mr. Christian’s dedication to transforming into a rehabilitated and positive role model for his family and community helped to formulate the organization’s founding mission.
SWO’s core principles reinforce our belief that each individual must start within themselves and start within their current situations. The ancient African proverb, “If there is no enemy within, the enemy outside can do us no harm.” is a principle that SWO embodies at its core. Presently, under the leadership of Carlos Christian, SWO continues its pursuit through education and mentoring initiatives in penitentiaries and county jails across Ohio.
Walking Logo Program
The Walking Logo Reentry Program (WLRP) is designed for men who are currently incarcerated with 18-24 months remaining on their stated prison term. With the guidance of case managers and written essays; participants are selected to be educated and mentored with the objective to significantly reduce recidivism rates.
The program curriculum is facilitated through a partnership between a successfully restored citizen and professionals in the fields of finance, parenting, cognitive behavior therapy, workforce development, and small business and entrepreneurship. Each module runs consecutively for eight weeks except for the workforce development section that is extended to 18 weeks to cover the material exhaustively. Upon successful completion of the pre-release curriculum and discharge from the correctional institution, participants receive clothing vouchers, housing and transportation assistance, employment referrals, as well as continued peer mentoring for an additional 12 months.
We believe our participants should start within themselves and their current situation of incarceration. This concept is backed by a Wheeler and Patterson report stating pre-release programs appear to be most effective at reducing recidivism rates. Building relationships between professionals and participants is vital in the process of facilitating information. Participants go beyond memorization into the application of the acquired information resulting in changes in behaviors and changes in circumstances. We believe this can best be achieved through the transference of information. This can be done from a professional facilitator coupled with authentication from an individual who used the same information to make a transition from offender to ex-offender successfully.
Father Within Program
In partnership with The Ohio Commission on Fatherhood, The Father Within program is an eight-module series offered to both correction and community-based fathers of Richland County, Ohio. The father-focused curriculum educates and mentors men in their efforts to become responsible, nurturing, and committed fathers. Our participants gain insights from discussions such as discipline -vs- punishment, positive co-parenting, and intentional goal setting that translates into immediate and practical strategies. In addition to healthy parenting skills, participants receive case management, job development, child support modifications, and driver’s license reinstatement.
After the workshop, our participants have been educated in child development methods that advance opportunities to influence healthy and safe family engagement ultimately promoting positive father role modeling
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