By C.N. Staff Writer
East of the River Clergy Police Community Partnership (ERCPCP) is on the front line fighting for the returning citizens as well as for the safety of our community. The reentry services that offer life-changing opportunities have touched the lives of so many men who have come through the Faith Base Transitional Housing program (FBTH). The FBTH located in the heart of S.E. Washington D.C ., on 1st Street, has had its challenges both inside and outside that community. However the passion and the commitment of the Executive Director Rev. Donald Isaac has defied the odds, and what insurmountable odds they were. The work in many ways go unnoticed except in the lives of those men in whom the work at ERCPCP impacted by connecting them to their families and helping them to become responsible citizens. The success stories are enough to keep the momentum and the energy levels high amongst the staff and to continue this front line battle. Such as the stories of:
Ivan Taylor who came through the FBTH angry at the world. After yielding to the FBTH plans for his life, he completed a 10 week training course at Local Union 657 along with 2 others from the house. All three men were placed on construction jobs to begin their career. In addition to Ivan Taylor’s construction training he enlisted in Night School to complete his high school education. Ivan graduated and received his GED diploma.
Ivan is working and living independently. As a way to give back, Ivan is the Chairman for the ERCPCP Alumni Association. Ivan has built a strong relationship with his two sons, interacting with them in their sports as well as taking them to church on Sunday mornings.
Ferdell Harvey came to the FBTH eagerly looking to change his old way of life. Through the Workforce Development program he expressed the desire to become a truck driver. Ferdell was given a study manual to obtain his CDL. Ferdell applied himself and the first time he took the test he failed. Ferdell was no quitter. He continued to study and the next time he took the test he passed. Ferdell is working a construction job driving a dump truck. He is also living in the ERCPCP independent living housing program.
Anthony Castle came to the FBTH wanting another chance in life to prove himself. Through the programs at the FBTH he signed up for the DC Kitchen’s Culinary Job Training Program. This is a zero tolerance program that requires great discipline. The determination of Anthony landed him on the stage as an excited graduate. Anthony is currently working as a cook in a local restaurant. Anthony has committed to be in the lives of his two sons. He takes them to church services on Sunday.
Larry Johnson came through the FBTH with great expectation. Larry wanted to be a personal trainer. Larry worked out every day. He started a part time job on the weekend as a trainer at a church while he was a resident at the FBTH. Larry also delivered papers during the week. This kept him quite busy. Larry did that until he landed a job at the Maryland Census Bureau , where he currently works as a janitor. Larry has one child with whom he has reconnected and developed a good relationship.
Gary Johnson came to the FBTH with a job working at the Navy Yard. Gary is still working the same job and living responsibly and independently as a tax-paying citizen.
Gary went through several courses on money management. He has learned how to manage his money and he is building towards a successful future.
Lusby Turner came to FBTH ready to put his past behind him. Lusby attended every program that ERCPCP had to offer. He had such a positive attitude that it didn’t take him long to convince the person who interviewed him for a job that he would be a great asset for their business. Lusby was hired on the spot and latter given the keys to open and close the business. He has his own apartment and has recently bought a truck to do moving and hauling on the side for extra income.
The list can go on and on about the lives of the returning citizens that made a successful transition in our society. The hard work of ERCPCP continues to connect these men with their families and their faith with the hope that the family and the church embraces them with open hearts. We all have a job to create a sense of welcome and inclusion to strengthen and encourage these men to reenter our community.