On March 22nd, the Newark Think Tank on Poverty hosted the first Licking County Reentry Summit at C-TEC in Newark. The event ran from 9 A.M. to 1:30 P.M., beginning with personal reentry testimonies and ending with a Q&A session lead by Allen Schwartz and Wendy Tarr.
The purpose of the Reentry Summit was to bring together a multitude of groups that work in Licking County's social services, non-profit, faith-based, government, and justice sectors. The event focused on identifying barriers in the reentry process and a call to coordinate our efforts towards improving the system to ensure all citizens have access to the opportunities and services needed for successful reentry and reintegration to the community after incarceration.
The groups that signed on with the coalition are as follows:
- Mental Health America
- Coalition of Care
- The Society of St. Vincent de Paul
- Licking County Job and Family Services
- Mental Health and Recovery of Licking & Knox Counties
- Behavioral Healthcare Partners of Central Ohio
- Licking County Alcohol Prevention Program
- Pathways of Central Ohio
- Adult Probation
- Adult Court Services
- Licking County Coalition for Housing
- Newark Addiction Recovery Initiative
- Licking County Child Support
- The Newark Think Tank on Poverty
The courage on display was beautiful. Nine of our colleagues and members of the NTTP stood up and shared their stories of reentry. They shared their vulnerabilities, their strengths, and where the gaps in the system existed. Some of the speakers have never publicly shared these stories. It was a moving experience and set the board for the launch of the Licking County Reentry Coalition.
Throughout the testimonies, there were several recurring themes, including child abuse, intergenerational mental illness, addiction, and poverty. Beginning with next month's issue we will be interviewing those who gave a testimony with the hope that their stories will reach a broader audience.
Wendy Tarr, Linda Mossholder, and Joshua Gingras contributed to this story.