Center for Council joined forces with Wildwoods for a day in nature dedicated to supporting our reentry community and their loved ones.
The weather was perfect as attendees gathered on Saturday, October 21, to experience the beauty of the great outdoors right in the heart of Los Angeles at Vista Hermosa Natural Park. Families participating in our Council Reentry Program were invited to attend and there were activities for both adults and kids. Folks discovered the wonders of the park while exploring ways to reduce stress and enhance wellbeing through the simple joy of being outdoors.
Los Angeles is the most populous city in California and is host to the largest number of individuals returning from state prisons. There are so many challenges that formerly incarcerated individuals face upon release, including finding housing and employment, the stigma of being an “ex-offender” and the repair and renewal of supportive and healthy relationships with families and friends. Recognizing and overcoming old habits and avoiding reversion to “the criminal mentality” can be an enormous hurdle to overcome when returning to one’s community. The culture in prison is often marked by power and aggression, resulting in adaptive behavior and communication that is inappropriate on the outside and can lead to conflict, harm and even rearrest. Participants in Nature Day reflected that the journey home requires relearning a great deal.
CRP supports program participants with a customized approach that offers warm hand-off support services initiated during incarceration, and continues throughout the release and reintegration process with case management, ongoing council sessions for participants and their families, and advanced training in council facilitation for those who have found healing in this practice and want to carry it to their communities.